GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Christmas music pouring out of speakers, people bustling in and out of stores, everyone preparing for the holidays in their own way. Goodfellow took part in the holiday busyness in multiple ways this year.
Making preparations for students to go home and visit families is one task that members of the base had to help with, but also not forgetting the students who remained on base.
Moving more than 1,000 students to and from their holiday destinations is no easy task.
“Behind the scenes there are months of planning meetings coordinating all squadrons on Goodfellow Air Force Base to ensure this event happens with no disruptions,” said Community Cohesion Coordinator Sarah Sweatman. “It starts with the 17th Force Support Squadron and 17th Contracting Squadron submitting contracts for the busses to and from the airports. Next is 8 or more weeks of 17th FSS Information, Tickets and Travel sales for bus tickets and it goes on to the culmination of the event.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Goodfellow is more than just a military base. When students arrived at the Mathis Fitness Center for baggage drop, their ears were greeted with festive music and their eyes with a sight to behold. Many volunteers showed up to support the students, each decked out in their “Christmas cheer gear” ready to show them how much Goodfellow cares.
The 17th FSS has a scavenger hunt every Exodus to give students something fun to do while they wait to leave. The hunt has students visit various FSS facilities that offered activities at a discount or even for free!
Once they completed their scavenger hunt card they turned it in for a chance to win an awesome prize at the “Welcome Back Y’all” party.
The party included live music, games, drinks, prizes and even a mechanical bull! All of the stops were pulled to give the students a Texas-sized welcome back.
For those students who couldn’t leave or chose not to, the FSS facilities they visited showed them what they had to offer. A few of the highlights included a DJ, a rock wall, games, and discounted bowling!
The support for our students didn’t stop at the base though. Off base, the troops were welcomed into homes with open arms.
Locations such as The Lone Elk Lodge proved just how close Goodfellow is with the local community. Their generosity was solid proof of this bond.
On Christmas Day roughly 120 military members and their families were invited to spend Christmas with the Elks. Volunteers worked tirelessly to accommodate the members, showing up at 8:30 a.m. and staying until 5 p.m. they prepared a Christmas feast and donated presents.
Everyone left the party with a gift in hand from televisions to sound bars and even cameras.
17th Logistics Readiness Squadron Quality Assurance Inspector Karen Martin and Marine Corps Contractor Penelope Benton were just two of the people behind the operation.
Martin wanted to give Christmas to the students that were not able to go home this year, giving them a home away from home. The Elks provided free transportation to and from the base to make sure they got as many Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines out as they could.
The San Angelo community and Goodfellow members connected over the holiday season, through being able to go home, or through making new friends when staying on base and taking part in the various activities that were offered on and off base.