DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.– — Being stuck in a hospital is never fun when you’re a kid. That’s why this past weekend a few Airmen from the Desert Lightning Team joined together and built 130 spring baskets to lift the spirits of local pediatric patients. The baskets were filled with goodies and gifts that provided the children a welcomed break from their challenges.
In 2015, U.S Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Wolff, 355th Maintenance Group, Aircraft Maintenance Scheduler, and myself, led a fundraiser within the 355th Maintenance Operations Flight to collect money to provide spring baskets for children at the Tucson Medical Center. Our efforts along with charitable contributions from the men and women of the 355th Maintenance Operations Flight, enabled us to provide 50 baskets ranging from infants through High School aged patients at the hospital. It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that I, along with the help of everyone within my unit, was able to have such a huge impact on something as simple as giving a basket to a kid in the Hospital.
This year, we wanted to go as far as making this event base wide. We dedicated ourselves to collecting even more donations in an effort to reach more children. We reached out to many private organizations across the base and with that we had an outpouring amount of donations and the generosity was more than we had expected. The Airmen Committed to Excellent council, 5/6 Council, First Sergeants Association, Chiefs Group and Top III all provided donations and secured $1,300 to build the baskets.
The ACE council also helped Wolff and I fill the baskets with coloring books, card games, toys and much more. After the assembly was completed we were able to deliver the baskets to the Tucson Medical Center and University Medical Center Diamond Children’s Hospital to surprise the young patients and their families.
The delivery was a very memorable and heartwarming moment for all the Airmen involved. All the patients, their family members and hospital staff were extremely grateful and showed their appreciation to every single one of us that was there. I was personally touched because I knew that when those kids were smiling and graciously accepting their baskets, I knew that I helped make that happen.
Most memorably, I will never forget a certain young boy and his mother. This young boy was very happy to see us walk into his room. His mother reminded him that now was his chance to tell us something. His words were “Thank you for your service!” Afterwards, his mother informed us that he has always wanted to personally tell a military member this and we were able to give him this opportunity.