Keesler can help you keep your resolutions <br> Part three: helping others

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Heather Heiney
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the third in a series of four on common New Year's resolutions.

For many people the New Year brings with it the desire to start fresh, set goals and do something to make themselves better in one way or another. While not everyone creates a resolution each year and those that do tailor their goals to their specific needs, four of the more common resolutions are to quit smoking, be healthier, help others and learn more. Each week throughout the month of January, this series will explore the four resolutions above and how different Keesler agencies can help individuals reach their goals.

Week three: help others.

Donating time or money, no matter how small the contribution, can make a significant difference. Volunteering not only helps those on the receiving end, it can give contributors a sense that they were a part of something bigger than their own lives.

From an Air Force perspective, volunteering in the local community also fosters positive relationships between Airmen and members of society who may not know what the military does for their country or what it's really like to serve.

Sandra Brzovic, Keesler's volunteer services coordinator, said, "Our volunteers are a great liaison between Keesler and the community. Volunteering creates positive public relations for the base and helps make a significant contribution to people and agencies in need."

Keesler members average more than 300,000 officially reported volunteer hours per year.

"Many agencies downtown say that they could not do their jobs without the aid and support of our Keesler volunteers," Brzovic said.

Leslie Pitre from the local chapter of the American Red Cross said, "We absolutely benefit from Keesler volunteers. Many times Keesler volunteers reach out to the American Red Cross to lend a hand before we even ask for their support."

People volunteer for many different reasons -- to simply help others or support a cause, to enhance job skills, to make friends or to do something with their free time. Whatever the reason, people usually walk away feeling something.

Jackie Pope, section chief for the airman and family readiness center, said "Volunteerism is contagious! When you volunteer, it not only gives you the opportunity to meet new people, you're building a sense of community not only for yourself but for those that you're helping. It's a win-win for all!"

Staff Sgt. Alexandria Valdez, 335th Training Squadron, said, "I like volunteering because it gives me a sense of purpose. Feeling that I have made a dent in something that is bigger than myself and all of us makes me feel important."

Some new enlisted members may see the "community and base involvement" section of an enlisted performance report and wonder why that's a factor in determining how they're doing as an Airman. After all, they go to work every day, do their job well and stay out of trouble. But volunteering shows that they are dedicated to the second core value outside of regular duty hours.

"The core value that volunteering pertains to the most is service before self. The Air Force core values should not only be with us while on duty but rather they should be instilled in us with everything we do," Valdez said. "Serving our community during our free time is a great way to practice that core value. Time off is valuable to all of us, but the fact we choose to help our community can be infectious and inspiring to others to want to do the same."

Brzovic said that she is always looking for more volunteers, whether for an event, project or long-term commitment.

"I serve as a focal point for volunteer activities both on and off base," she said.

She also sends out weekly volunteer opportunities to the base and implements the volunteer of the quarter program as well as the annual volunteer recognition ceremony and the Volunteer Excellence Award, a lifetime achievement award for volunteering, during National Volunteer Week.

For more information and to get involved, call 228-377-0155, or stop by the volunteer coordinators office in Room 134 of the Levitow Training Support Facility.