HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – The Air Force calls upon all Airmen to volunteer their time and give back to others to benefit society as a whole. Airman 1st Class Kyle Schriever, 49th Logistic Readiness Squadron material maintenance specialist, is answering that call to action and going above what is asked of him.
“I started volunteering as soon as I arrived to Holloman in November of last year, but recently I wanted to take part in something that is reoccurring, or be the creator of a volunteer project,” said Schriever.
Schriever has volunteered in multiple capacities, such as being a crosswalk attendant and reading to children at the library, but felt he needed to do more than just show up and help.
“My wife was following the St John’s Community Kitchen on Facebook and reached out to me about volunteering there, and since they only took groups, I knew I could use this as an opportunity to organize volunteers,” said Schriever. “I emailed the first shirt, who then sent it throughout the squadron. I had all the volunteers I needed within one hour. It was a great start to making this opportunity happen.”
All food and supplies for the soup kitchen are provided by the volunteers, and without their donations the soup kitchen would not survive.
“Every Airmen in the group donated food and supplies to make it happen, which really showed it was a good team effort,” said Schriever.
St. John’s Episcopal Church offers a free meal every third Thursday of the month, and there is a sign in front of the church that says “free meal” to help get the word out.
“The experience went well, I felt like I was that guy from that show ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ making sure everything went according to plan,” said Schriever. I had a great group of people who all worked hard to get everything done in time. I especially was moved by seeing all the veterans that came to the soup kitchen and knowing I was helping those who had served before me.”
The mission of the soup kitchen is to feed the less fortunate residents of Alamogordo, N.M.
“This experience gave me the opportunity to create something from the start at the same time putting me outside my comfort zone,” said Schriever. “I wanted to volunteer in a way that was just not doing the bare minimum. If I want to grow and evolve as an individual, I have to keep pushing myself, and this was one of those opportunities.”
Schriever will continue to volunteer at the soup kitchen and hopes to keep bringing others to volunteer for this important community resource.
“I think the biggest thing that I learned by this experience, is that we are in a gated community here on base and we sometimes forget about our host town, Alamogordo,” said Schriever. “To see first-hand that just a few miles down the road there are people who are far less fortunate was kind of a wake-up call. It puts things in perspective about how blessed we are.”
President George H.W. Bush said, “A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel. Often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens - citizens in the fullest sense: partners in civilization.”
Considering the U.S. military forces are all-volunteer, the need to give back to the community is a standard emphasized throughout any Airman’s career. Many feel through reaching out to their neighbors, Airmen strengthen our democracy and prepare themselves to be successful citizens.
“The Air Force has done so much for me that I can only give the Air Force and the community that surround it everything that I have in return,” said Schriever.