162nd Fighter Wing recruiters and student flight members participated in Tucson’s annual Festival of Books March 9 and 10 at the University of Arizona.
Tech. Sgts. James Wright, Valerie Fortina and Andy Lorenz, recruiters at the wing, manned a booth at the festival greeting future recruits, shaking the hands of past generation service members and meeting best-selling authors. Amongst answering questions and listening to reminiscent stories, the recruiters handed out calendars, pens and reading material to inform the community of the 162nd’s presence and mission.
Student flight members spent their day helping exhibitors offload their inventories, direct traffic and be of general assistance to the Festival of Books coordinators, participants and patrons, said Fortina.
“This event was for community service and to get the face of the Air Guard known,” said Lorenz who felt they were successful in that endeavor.
Senior Airman Manny Benitez, an aerospace ground equipment technician, volunteered to help support the recruiters and student flight during the event.
“It’s nice to be able to see people in the community while showing support for the wing,” said Benitez.
This was the 162nd’s first year participating in the Festival of Books. Fortina, who coordinated the wing’s attendance at the event, feels it was a good experience for the wing and the Festival of Books.
“We’ve had positive feedback from the coordinators of the Festival of Books, and they are appreciative of the extra help,” said Fortina.
Although student flight members stayed busy with work while at the event, they look forward to attending next year’s Festival of Books as visitors, said Lorenz.