Redeyes give back to Gunsan City
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Approximately 35 Wolf Pack Airmen, including members of the 120th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado Air National Guard, volunteered at the Moses Infant Home in Gunsan City March 21.
"A lot of Redeyes wanted to volunteer for this trip," said Staff Sgt. Cinde Yoho, 120th EAMU conventional weapons crew chief. "It's a great opportunity for us to bond with the community while deployed here to the ROK."
The Kunsan Chapel normally sponsors a trip on the first Saturday of each month for 15 Wolf Pack members who wish to volunteer at the home.
"These trips fill up very fast, and that's a great thing," said Father Edward Ramatowski, 8th Fighter Wing chaplain and Moses Infant Home volunteer coordinator. "But we wanted to ensure the Redeyes had a chance to give back to the community. So many of them were eager to visit the home that we set up a special day just for them."
When they arrived, the Airmen carried in 32 boxes of diapers and wet wipes before spending the next few hours spending time with the 30 infants and children at the home.
"It breaks my heart to see so many kids without families in one place," said Senior Airman Nate Gilmore, 120th EAMU munitions systems technician. "It definitely made me appreciate and miss my own kids even more."
For some Redeyes, this experience was the first of its kind.
"I had never volunteered at an orphanage before," said Staff Sgt. Phil Trubia, 120th EAMU munitions system technician. "Even though we spoke different languages, I did not feel it was a barrier. The kids were very affectionate, and it was easier to play and bond together than I thought it would be. I would absolutely do something like this again."
While this opportunity was specifically created for the visiting Redeyes, some Wolf Pack Airmen joined their fellow maintainers on the visit.
"This experience brought warmth to my heart," said Staff Sgt. Gerard Marler, 8th MXS conventional weapons crew chief. "The children were excited to see us, and we had a blast just spending time with them. It was very rewarding to be there and to spend some off-duty time with our Buckley counterparts."
Back home in Colorado, Yoho spends her time as a social worker and enjoys helping Airmen have the chance to volunteer at children's homes.
"I think the ROK has a great system for children without families, and that was evident at the Moses Infant Home," she said. "I wanted our Airmen to have a chance to help out while we are deployed."
The trip also inspired many Redeyes to continue volunteering when they return stateside.
"For me, this was a call to action to do more with children's homes back home and abroad," said Gilmore. "It truly opened my eyes that there are many children in the world in need of love."
If you would like to volunteer to visit the Moses Infant Home, call the Kunsan Chapel at 782-4300.