U.S. Airmen attending Airman Leadership School, and other Desert Lightning Team members, assisted in the landscaping of Bravo Base, also known as Camp Conklin, in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 26, 2017.
The Airmen spent hours giving back to those who sacrificed so much for their country.
“The opportunity to help veterans that have paved the way for us just made a lot of sense to everyone in the class,” said Master Sgt. Jacob Galan, commandant of the ALS at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. “Anything they needed while we were there, we were able to do.”
Camp Conklin is run by the Veteran’s on Patrol group that gives shelter to U.S. veterans as well as others around the area. It is located on the south side of Tucson across the street from Santa Rita Park and provides shelter for those in need, for as long as needed.
“This place helps us get back onto our feet,” said an Army veteran. “When we’re back up, they say ‘Goodbye, but if you ever need us, we’re here for you.’”
All the camp’s residents are responsible for the base’s upkeep and each other’s safety. Though the veteran’s teamwork helps them become more self-sufficient, volunteers are always welcome.
“The biggest thing about this camp is that they’re not looking for sympathy, they are looking for support and that’s what they need,” said Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Pullen, ALS instructor at D-M AFB. “We volunteer not because we have to, but because we find what we want to be invested in and for us it was helping out Camp Conklin.”
Every iteration of ALS does a community based volunteer event, and this class found it imperative to make sure the veterans and civilians at Bravo Base got the help they needed.
“The fall to where we are to where they are is not nearly as big as people think it is,” said Senior Airman Jared Dumale, an ALS student at D-M AFB. “It could have been just five years ago that they were literally in our boots.”
Bravo Base does something that few other camp based shelters do: they provide veterans and civilians alike with a sense of community that helps them get back on their feet.
“This place is a true blessing and it’s a miracle that it’s here for us,” an Army veteran said. “We just don’t want people to forget about us. They’re helping make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Once the residents of Camp Conklin are ready to get back into the world, the camp continues to support them and reminds them that Bravo Base’s doors are always open to them if they ever need to return.