The Warm Hearts of our First Sergeants

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyrell Hall
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Service members across the Department of Defense have seen the iconic Thanksgiving and Christmas collections at the Commissary crafted by Operation Warmheart. However, the program is more than meets the eye, Goodfellow showcased this during an Operation Warmheart event on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Feb 8.

During the distribution event, program volunteers focused their efforts to distribute financial donations, material provisions and other contributions such as clothing, furniture, and gifts.

Operation Warmheart is a year-long program in which GAFB partners with the San Angelo community to provide for service members in three major ways: Family support, year-round financial support, and donation distributions during the holiday season.

“The staple of Operation Warmheart is all funds are generously donated by the Chamber of Commerce and the local community,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Miiller, 17th Wing Staff Agencies First Sergeant. “It signifies how close the ties are between Goodfellow AFB and the local community.”

The program is managed by the GAFB First Sergeant Council and is financially supported through fundraising and donations from military members and the Chamber of Commerce. Miiller said the chamber of commerce has donated around $24k to Operation Warmheart.

After the Warmheart team has gathered donations, all donations and contributions are redistributed in the form of gifts, grants, and other acts of kindness.
When the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons comes around, GAFB partners with the Commissary to facilitate gathering donations for the Goodfellow community.

From the first Saturday in November to the last Saturday before Christmas, weekly donations of turkeys, hams, other food items and financial donations are collected; these donations are then redistributed to Goodfellow military and civilian families during the holidays.

Through donations made by GAFB and the San Angelo community, Operation Warmheart has collected thousands of dollars in clothing, food, and monetary donations and delivers hundreds of meals each year for the Goodfellow Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Guardians.

“Operation Warmheart is known for helping Airmen with plane tickets back home when a grant isn’t warranted,” said Miiller. “We also do a monthly operations to feed everyone where we pick a squadron and buy lunch for them.”

A few examples of the impact created by Operation Warmheart include vehicle repair, money for water and electric bills, child care for new mothers, travel provisions, clothes and food for families in need.

“In the past year 12 squadrons have been fed,” said Miiller. “Usually we feed 200 to 500 members and we spend between $700 and $1200.”
The success of Operation Warmheart is a direct reflection of Team Goodfellow’s connection to the San Angelo community and commitment to service members. Miiller said Operation Warmheart impacts Airmen lives for the better because when they feel like there is no where to turn for help Operation Warmheart is there.

“Operation Warmheart shows just how much the local community loves taking care of Goodfellow AFB and much they appreciate us,” said Miiller. “This last year has been great for Operation Warmheart.”

Miiller said the team has even introduced a QR code to the Chamber of Commerce and the local community to help make it easier for them to donate.
For more information on any of the Operation Warmheart programs and activities, please contact your unit first sergeant.