The call to serve

Colonel Richard Ayres (center), 17th Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Frederick Ricker (right), 17 TRW command chief master sergeant, sign up for the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign with the help of Staff Sgt. Christopher Morgan, a campaign volunteer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Martin)

Colonel Richard Ayres (center), 17th Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Frederick Ricker (right), 17 TRW command chief master sergeant, sign up for the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign with the help of Staff Sgt. Christopher Morgan, a campaign volunteer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Martin)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The men and women of Team Goodfellow are all called to service, whether as military servicemembers or civilians in federal service. Think about that word--service. Our primary responsibility is to serve as a bulwark of defense against those who would attempt to steal our liberty or destroy our American way of life. We tend to think of that in terms of deployments, readiness, Global War on Terrorism training, security operations, as well as creating the future by training intelligence, firefighter and special instruments professionals. That is an accurate way to think of our service, but it is not the only way to think of it.

Each of the four military services represented at Goodfellow Air Force Base considers service before self to be a core value, though we each phrase it differently. At the very heart of military service is the idea that we are contributing to the achievement of a purpose that is much larger than any single one of us. It is only with that thought in mind that we can ask or even require servicemembers to lay down their lives in support of such a purpose. It cannot be otherwise. As a result, the idea of service is central to our military culture.

There is more than one kind of service however. In the larger sense, service is any activity contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort. In our community, nation, and world there are many pressing needs that require effort to be expended and needs to be met. As Americans, we have a longstanding culture of meeting many of those needs through the efforts of private organizations. This nation is the most charitable on earth and, in view of our prosperity, ought to be.

As military and civilian servicemembers, we have a special responsibility to give back to the community. It is the community that has provided us with all the resources and benefits we enjoy. Anyone who has been in San Angelo for even a short time is aware of how well this community supports us, takes care of us, and values us.

This week we kicked off Goodfellow's annual Combined Federal Campaign. Team Goodfellow, this is our chance to shine! This is our opportunity to put meaning to the word service in servicemember. Through this charity, we can make a real difference to the lives of individuals in this community and across this nation. Whether it involves children, elderly, disabled or disadvantaged, each of you can find a charity within CFC that speaks to your particular area of service interest.

Charities exist to defend legal rights, protect the environment, give terminally ill children the thrill of an all-too-short lifetime, preserve historic sites, or provide homes to needy people. The list is almost endless.

When your CFC keyworker contacts you, I ask that each of you remember the larger meaning of service and give something back to our community and nation. We Americans are that kind of people, and we servicemembers have that kind of value at our very core.