Service to the community

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- -- I arrived at Angelo Catholic School one blustery morning where I was treated to the sight of small children clutching brightly decorated boards and precious objects, and hurriedly leading their parents to the school doors.

Entering the nearly filled gymnasium, I saw groups of youngsters busily assembling their labors of love and learning. Something had captured these children's imaginations in a way ordinary classroom activities could not. Angelo Catholic School was preparing to hold its Science Fair Competition Feb. 10 and nearly 20 volunteers from Goodfellow Air Force Base were there to help.

Those servicemembers had responded to Angelo Catholic School's call for volunteers. The only requirement was the servicemembers be willing to give a few hours and like being with excited children who couldn't wait to tell them what they had discovered from their projects. Those nearly 20 members of our military forces seized a unique opportunity to offer their service to the community in which they live.

After the volunteer notice was put out, the replies came in from members of all branches of the military. The reasons given by the volunteers wanting to judge the event were numerous.

A self-described "former science nerd" expressed her interest to help out the children with whom she had once identified. Another related how excited he was when he participated in science fairs as a youth and wanted to give back something of what he had gained as a young student.

More than 75 students in the second through sixth grades set up their projects to demonstrate their knowledge of scientific inquiry. Displays titled "The Tasty Tongue," "Got Hoops" and "Naughty Knots" battled to grab attention. Great fun was in store for all including the military and civilian judges from Goodfellow who quizzed the students to determine which projects would win the coveted blue ribbon.

It is plain to see that this group represented the many fine men and women who work together to make our unique installation a success. Students, instructors and civilian employees felt compelled to share their time and talents with eager youngsters excited about learning.

"I felt really proud to see other military members showing their support for these children and our community," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Estrada, one of the volunteer judges. "It is great to be a part of something special like this...to see the children's faces light up when I asked them to explain their science fair projects to me," said Sergeant Estrada, who is assigned to the 315th Training Squadron.

After the competition was over, Airman 1st Class Les Wilson, a 312th Training Squadron student, expressed his appreciation for this opportunity and his eagerness to participate in events like the science fair.

"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the local community," Airman Wilson said.

A very grateful "thank you" is extended to all who helped make this Science Fair at Angelo Catholic School so successful. Martin Hernandez, the director of the school's science department, said it was unprecedented for this event to move so smoothly. He attributed the success to the help of the many volunteers from Goodfellow.

There will be more opportunities to volunteer in the schools and throughout the San Angelo community in the upcoming weeks. Check the Volunteer Wire for requests.
To obtain request forms, contact Jerry Marlett, (325)654-3425.