Air Force

August 30, 2013

Airman overcomes tough past

Tags:
Senior Airman DAVID OWSIANKA
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Lloydon Adler Balili, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, sits on his father’s lap as his family has their picture taken in the back yard of their home on the outskirts of Manila, Philippines. He was 5.

He stepped out his door and looked down the street. He saw homes with tires for walls and rust-covered steel roofs. This sight would not be typical for most, but for one Airman, it was normal.

Airman 1st Class Lloydon Adler Balili, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, was raised on the outskirts of Manila, Philippines, and faced many challenges as a child.

Balili grew up on the second floor of a three-story house. The first floor was used as a schoolhouse, and the third floor was the church where his father worked.

“My family didn’t own the house, but we were allowed to stay there because my father worked at the church,” Balili said. “We also used an unreliable water pump and allowed other families to use it if we ran out of clean water.”

Since Balili’s father was a pastor, his income was solely based on donations. His mother worked at different companies as a salesperson.

“There were times when my mother made most of the money and my father wasn’t getting much support,” Balili said. “I remember eating only rice and soy sauce for meals. There were times when I didn’t want to brush my teeth because we had to share the toothpaste.

“I didn’t think much about not having enough food because there were other kids worse off than me,” he said.

Not having enough food to eat wasn’t the only problem Balili faced growing up in the Philippines. Balili and his younger sister lived with their aunt and uncle for a couple months because their older sister had tuberculosis and was quarantined.

“Even though I had my cousin to play with and my aunt and uncle provided a lot for my sister and me, it was difficult,” Balili said. “It was hard not knowing how my parents were doing and if my older sister was doing well in the hospital.”

When Balili turned eight, he found out his family would be moving to America because his father received a job working for the Evangelical Free Church of America in Tracy, Calif.

“I knew that there were more races and cultures in California, and I thought that it was going to be tough to make friends, blend in and learn how to speak English better,” Balili said. “I learned English as a second language in the Philippines, but actually using it was kind of weird.”

Balili was astonished at the amount of food he could eat upon arriving in California.

“The day after arriving in California, my dad cooked chicken and gave me a bigger piece than I’m used to from being in the Philippines,” he said. “I remember going to Burger King and not being able to finish the kid’s meal burger because it was too huge.”

Balili noticed a difference between America’s culture and the Philippines.

“My neighbors kept to themselves more here, but in the Philippines, we would interact with our neighbors more,” he said. “I definitely missed living in the Philippines around the holidays and felt I was happier there.”

After graduating high school, Balili joined the Air Force.

“I joined to travel and gain my U.S. citizenship,” he said. “I want to travel because I like to learn about different cultures and people. Getting my citizenship was important because it gives me more opportunities such as voting and re-enlisting in the military. It also reminds me how blessed this country is, and all the rights U.S. citizens have such as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, because not all countries in the world provide that.”

Even after all his struggles, Balili has pushed himself to learn how to be an effective Airman.

“He came and really hit the ground running,” said Capt. Funmilayo Aranmolate, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander. “He learned the procedures and techniques very quickly. I think that since he’s seen and experienced poverty he truly appreciates every opportunity he has been given here and takes advantage of it.”

Balili has gained more than just his citizenship since joining the Air Force.

“I have gained more character and become more patient since enlisting,” he said. “I don’t like to change very much, but the military changes a lot and I’ve learned how to adjust and continue to grow as a person and an Airman.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

Luke 1 flies first ‘student’ F-35 sortie

Senior Airman Devante Williams Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, prepares Wednesday for the first F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter training sortie at Luke Air Force Base with Senior Airman Patrick Murph...
 
 

Bring ‘invisible class’ into view

When I was a young boy, my father explained to me that there was dignity in work. He told me to always respect the worker regardless of how thankless or menial their job may appear to be. He said that you never know the burdens a person may be carrying, or the family members that...
 
 

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for success

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ~ Diana Scharf Hunt What personal or professional goals do you want to achieve this year? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to make that next rank? Goal setting is a powerful tool that can turn a vision of the future into reality. Top athletes and...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Club Beyond: Where friends, fun, faith connect

Courtesy photo Charles and Joe compete to see who can attach the most clothespins to their faces Dec. 1, 2014, at Club Five Six. Club Beyond has more than 100 trained staff and hundreds of volunteers at over 40 locations worldw...
 
 

News Briefs March 20, 2015

Finance office hours The 56th Comptroller Squadron finance office will open at noon Monday due to the CSAF All Call and will be closed 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday for an official function. Tuskegee Airmen ceremony The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day ceremony is 10 a.m. Thursday at Luke Air Force Base Tuskegee Airmen Memorial...
 
 

CSAF All Call — bus pickup points

Gen. Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, all call is 10:30 a.m. Monday at Hangar 999. There will be bus pickups at the points indicated on the map. They begin at 9 a.m. and the last pickup will be at 10 a.m. All personnel must be in place by 10:15 a.m.
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin