First Sergeant Council: the wingmen of the holiday season

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Thanksgiving is the time for being with families and being thankful for all that we have in our lives- a career, good health and a family of Airmen who are there to support us when we need it. When it comes to a support network, there is none better than the wingmen all around us.

This Thanksgiving, the First Sergeant Council is taking the role of the wingman in their annual Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive. Though called a food basket drive, the program is supported through funds that have been donated specifically to help families in need.

The Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive is designed to assist military families who may need a little extra help during the holiday season, said Master Sgt. Faith McNelley, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. This is another way of being a wingman to our fellow brothers and sisters in uniform.

"The food baskets go to any Airmen who need extra help during the holiday season," McNelley said. "While we help more lower ranking Airmen we also help any rank of Airman who is in need."

The food baskets are a big piece of support for the families in need.

"Each food basket ensures those families have all the items necessary for a traditional Thanksgiving meal," said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Swidecki, 90th Operations Group first sergeant. "By handing out food baskets, we can prevent families from having to choose between a nice meal and paying bills."

On Nov. 22, the First Sergeant Council will be picking up food from the commissary and build baskets for 125 Airmen across the wing, McNelley said. The baskets will then be delivered to the families that same day.

The families who receive the food baskets were nominated by the first sergeants of the individuals units, said Swidecki.

"There is a nominee cap, but we always make sure those who truly need baskets get them," he added

The food basket drive is just one of the many holiday programs that the First Sergeant Council supports that help the Airmen and their families.

"The First Sergeant Council spearheads four wing holiday programs: the Thanksgiving Food Baskets, the Angel Tree Christmas Gift program, the Empty Stocking Christmas Food Baskets and the Board of Realtors Christmas Gift Program," McNelley said. 'This year we are also able to provide assistance to the 153rd Airlift Wing as well."

Each program provides assistance to the families of the 90th Missile Wing who are in need of assistance.

"Although the majority of the food programs aren't built for outside help, the Angel Tree program relies solely on the generosity of others to be successful," Swidecki said. "Once the Angel Tree is up, I invite everyone to visit the Base Exchange and play Santa for a child -- nothing can be better to foster the holiday spirit."