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Goodfellow gives back

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Members of Team Goodfellow raised $3,633 in February for the Air Force Enlisted Village's 2007 Ride to Retire the Debt program, roughly ten percent of the Air Force-wide donation of $30,000.

The Air Force Enlisted Village, which has provided an independent living home for Air Force indigent widows since 1975, broke ground on Hawthorn House, an assisted-living residence which allows residents of the village to continue living with AFEV despite medical issues as a result of aging, in 2003. Hawthorn House opened in September 2005.

Due to financial difficulties, the AFEV found itself taking out a commercial loan for $8 million during the construction process and was faced with the daunting task of paying back that debt. Two AFEV employees, Sue Holler and Pat Tye, began a fund-raising event where bike riders would be sponsored to ride around Lake Okeechobee, Fla. The resulting program was named Ride to Retire the Debt.

When Chief Master Sgt. Paul Moreau, 17th Training Wing command chief master sergeant, was approached with a request for Goodfellow volunteers to sponsor individual riders, he said he wanted to go one step further. Led by the enthusiasm of the 17th Training Group, the base came together to make a large donation to a worthy cause.

"It is our responsibility to take care of the Airmen that have gone before us," said Staff Sgt. Russell Hartzell, one of the fund-raisers from the 315th Training Squadron. "I know that's why I volunteered."