The holidays are a time of giving and for Master Sgt. Caleb Fishell, 926th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron unit training manager at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., giving back to local Las Vegas families has been something he’s been involved with since 2012.
It all began when an Airman at the 926th Wing was going through a cancer battle and wing leadership wanted to show their support by donating to the community, specifically to kids with cancer.
Fishell volunteered to spearhead a toy donation for a local nonprofit and, along with other wing members, arranged to deliver the donated toys to make the children’s holiday brighter.
“The whole purpose was to help the burden of treatment, especially during the holidays,” said Fishell. “I’m sure the last thing the families in that situation are thinking about is toys.”
Although Fishell and his team weren’t able to interact directly with the children the first year, the experience was so impactful he has been gathering toys and other gifts every holiday season since.
“I love it, even when you can’t see it, you know you’re helping somebody in need,” he said.
In 2016 Fishell and his volunteers were able to deliver the toys directly to the children and he said the look on their faces was priceless.
“It was really cool to see the direct impact,” he said. “You would never guess they were fighting an illness, they were running around like normal, wanting to open toys.”
Over the years, Fishell has encouraged his Airmen to be a part of the process, hoping it will show them how just a little time can make a huge impact.
“Just the smallest donation goes a long way,” he said. “People don’t realize putting a can of food in a box or donating a toy can bring someone to tears.”
Fishell is also involved in gathering donations for local nonprofits that help homeless school children with food and other necessary supplies.
While COVID-19 precautions will change the way Fishell and his team gather and deliver their donations this year, it won’t bring an end to the holiday spirit.
Seeing the impact on the kids and the nonprofit program leaders is what motivates Fishell to keep serving his community and empowering others to get involved.
“I just don’t want to see this fail,” he said. “All it takes is one good cause to change someone’s world.”