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Fire relief volunteer information for 21st SW Airmen

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Since the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire, many military members have asked if and how they can volunteer to help with fire relief efforts.

Department of Defense employees may voluntarily participate in disaster relief activities in their personal capacities. Such duties may include debris removal, restoration of public services and distribution of supplies.

Volunteers are prohibited from wearing full military uniforms. However, military volunteers in their personal capacity may wear Air Force physical training shirts with jeans, if appropriate, given the potential duties to accomplish. The wear of PT gear serves to facilitate accountability efforts for the volunteer coordinators.

All volunteers must attend a mass risk management briefing as a prerequisite to receive a special pass. Details about future briefings will be publicized to those who have signed up to be volunteers through the volunteer coordinators. Commanders may approve passes or leave requests for volunteers from their unit.

Lt. Col. Roger Sherman, Capt. Bill Burich and Master Sgt. Andres Martinez Archilla from the 16th Space Control Squadron led the effort to compile a database of 330 volunteers from throughout the 21st Space Wing, Air Force Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command and Schriever AFB.

The military community received a volunteer request from the city of Colorado Springs earlier this month to collect spoiled food from Mountain Shadows residences to prevent wildlife from flocking to area trash cans.

"Our volunteers were welcomed with excited and open arms," Sherman said of the visit to the neighborhood. "One member of the Colorado Springs Emergency Operations Center stated, 'Thank God, the Air Force is here!'"

The volunteering effort is still active as the base awaits additional calls for volunteer requests.

"To date, volunteers have worked with the cleanup efforts in Mountain Shadows neighborhood, worked with Colorado Springs Police Department to man checkpoints, and helped the city by appearing in a training video to streamline sandbagging efforts in case of flash floods," Sherman stated with pride. "We are gearing up to further assist in cleanup of common areas in the neighborhood."

The volunteer team continues to earn accolades from city leadership and county officials.

"I can't be more proud of the members of Team Pete," added Col. Jeffrey Flewelling, the 21 SW vice commander. "It's our community, too, and the number of volunteers willing to do whatever's needed is another symbol of our team's gratitude to the community, and how the local residents have made us feel at home. We are happy to help anytime, anywhere."

Direct any questions to the regional volunteer coordination desk at 556-5788.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui