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164th Airlift Wing Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity

164th AW

Members of the 164th Airlift Wing volunteer for their local Habitat for Humanity project July 28, 2018 in Memphis, Tenn. Habitat for Humanity is a program that helps low income families become home owners by offering affordable housing payments in exchange for them meeting set volunteer hours as well as completing a financial wellness training program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Leon Bussey)

MEPHIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Memphis, Tenn. (July 28, 2018) -- Members of the 164th Airlift Wing volunteered with the local Habitat for Humanity program July 28, 2018 in Memphis, Tenn.

This was a major opportunity to increase the visibility of the wing in the eyes of the community.

“The wing is always looking for a way to help out in the community and get our name out there,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jimmie Jones, the 164th Airlift Wing Command Chief.

Jones stated that the goal of the 164th Airlift Wing is to build a relationship with the community by offering support through community service projects.

Although members from different groups in the wing volunteered, it was the efforts of the 164th Medical Group that made this opportunity come to life.

 “For annual training we are doing home station AT, and we were trying to figure out what to do for a moral event,” said Col. Robert Wagner, the 164 MDG commander. “One of our staff sergeants said ‘why don’t we do a charity event?’”

Wagner took the advice of his troop, and he and his leadership team began to search for a good volunteer opportunity.

“We looked at hospitals, but our group was too big,” said Wagner. “They only wanted 10, but we’ve got 38.”

Realizing that the hospital idea would not work, Lt. Col. Bradley Taylor, a member of the 164 MDG, made the suggestion to reach out to Habitat for Humanity. So, Wagner and Taylor reached out to the Memphis section of Habitat for Humanity. After contacting them, Wagner and Taylor found out that they didn’t have any current projects scheduled at the time, but the Habitat team was willing to create a project for July 28.

“Just because they know the quality of work we are going to do; work together and work fast,” said Wagner. “They moved a date to the 28th.”

The collective efforts of the military members, their spouses and volunteers from two other local businesses, the volunteers were able to not only complete the objectives that the Habitat for Humanity organization set, but surpass them, which led to the homes being able to be completed ahead of schedule.

“You guys do circles around our houses,” said Cameron Sanford, the donor relations manager and international partnerships liaison for Habitat for Humanity. “We are further along than we needed to be, which is fantastic. We are already pushing that date forward so that our families can move in quicker.”

Volunteering for these types of community projects have a huge impact on a person’s life and community.

“Habitat is building not only communities,” said Cameron. “We are building hope for Shelby County; hope for Memphis.”