Local

June 8, 2012

Top-3 council “pays it forward”

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By Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., serve food to the local community during a monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event Apr. 30, 2012, in Las Vegas. The Airmen provided locals with pasta, pizza, rolls, and water. The Top-3 conducts the Food Drive for the Homeless event on the last Monday of every month.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — At the corner of G Street and McWilliams Avenue in Las Vegas, 45 Nellis Airmen prepare hot meals and serve cold water to a growing line of people stretching two blocks towards Interstate 15.

For the volunteers, whether setting up, preparing food, or listening to their stories, it is all about giving back to the local community.

“Any opportunity we get to help families or individuals in need is very appreciated by the community,” said Senior Master Sgt. Edward Story, 57th Maintenance Group Top-3 member, who helps organize the event every month. “There are many people who suffer due to various circumstances in their lives that often can result in becoming homeless.”

The line grows as 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. serve food to the local community during a monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event Apr. 30, 2012, in Las Vegas. 99 LRS members fed 250 people during the evening’s event.

The Nellis Top-3 served spaghetti noodles, green beans, dinner rolls, cookies, candy, and water to about 350 residents during the event.

“The Feed the Homeless Drive is now sponsored by a unit or squadron every month,” Story said. “The idea was first presented to the Top-3 by Senior Master Sgt. Richard Buchalski, who was already donating his personal time toward supporting some of the homeless shelters and parish sites. The idea was well received by the members.”

Senior Master Sgt. Richard Buchalski, 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight superintendent, explains what inspired the idea for the Feed the Homeless Drive.

“Late one evening, I volunteered to help my wife and others serve food and water to the less fortunate. When I arrived at the shelter I was taken aback by the selfless giving Las Vegas patrons gave to our local community.”

“I was then informed by the volunteers that the last Monday of the month was the most crucial, since whatever support they received, whether food or money, was completely used,” said Buchalski.

Airmen from the 57th Maintenance Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and other community volunteers prepare spaghetti noodles to serve to locals during a Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event May 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. Locals were provided spaghetti, green beans, dinner rolls, and water during the event.

After the realization the community was involved in the endeavor, Buchalski coordinated with the Top-3 to have Nellis Airmen offer their help to the cause.

“Although we had to deal with a learning curve in the beginning, such as how to fund the events, what type of food to distribute, what kind of drinks to hand out, and what type of clothing to give, it has worked itself out to a smooth-running process,” Buchalski said.

Nellis Airmen have been supporting the event for the past three months. So far, the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and the 57th Maintenance Group have each volunteered.

“Airmen have welcomed the program with open arms, and we have setup a system for organizations to volunteer a month at a time on the last Monday of the month,” said Buchalski.

Buchalski says the drive provides Airmen the opportunity to make a difference.

“We as military members are provided everything institutionally and receive a guaranteed paycheck,” said Buchalski. “The local population in Las Vegas does not have this guarantee.”

Airmen from the 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., prepare food as the monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event begins Apr. 30, 2012, in Las Vegas. 99th LRS Airmen provided locals with pasta, pizza, rolls, and water.

A line of people fill their plates as Airmen from the 57th Maintenance Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and other local volunteers pass trays out and serve food during a monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event May 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. Nellis Airmen serve food one weekend a month to augment the efforts of community volunteer and support organizations.

Several local men eat a provided meal during a monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event Apr. 30, 2012, in Las Vegas. The drive reaches out to underserved neighborhoods with high homeless populations, where donated resources are often at a premium.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Oscar Peters and Senior Airman Eric McClendon, 57th Maintenance Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., wait to hand out trays to locals during a Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event May 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. Every month, a different squadron or a unit from Nellis volunteer time to the Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event.

Airman 1st Class Francis Calhoun, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, waits to serve food and water to the local community during a Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event May 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. 57th Maintenance Group Airmen fed 250 locals during their unit’s participation in Food Drive for the Homeless.

Alone and hungry

A local man sits against a fence and watches as 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen hand out food to the local community during a monthly Top-3 Food Drive for the Homeless event Apr. 30, 2012, in Las Vegas. The recurring event was established to give back to the community.




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