Community support

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col, Patrick Albritton
  • 336 Training Support Squadron
I'm four months from moving on to my next Air Force adventure. My family and I look forward to the change, but it will be hard to leave Spokane.

Although I love my job at survival school, and Fairchild Air Force Base is a team-orientated base, the Spokane community is what we'll miss the most. It's not just all of the amazing things to do in and around Spokane - it's the people.

Before President John F. Kennedy spoke the words, "My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country," a group of businesses and public-minded citizens bonded together in 1941 to donate $125,000 to purchase 1,400 acres of land, to secure the future of Fairchild.

In today's dollars that would be pushing a value of $3 million. I would venture to say this was a unique situation that wasn't replicated across our country.

The generosity and patriotism continues on today. If you are new to Fairchild or have never witnessed the Spokane Lilac Festival, I recommend you participate in the upcoming event this May. This is the nation's largest Armed Forces Torchlight Parade; honoring the men and women of our Armed Forces.

Remember that when we take credit for volunteering and supporting the community in our decorations, awards and evaluations, the families of Spokane and its surrounding communities have already given to us. Communities surrounding the Colville National Forest continue to show their support to the SERE mission as do the cities of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Moses Lake, Wash., to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing's mission.

As a squadron commander I was privileged to have an honorary commander assigned to our squadron who was highly motivated to learn what we do and participate in our functions. He and his wife have shared with my family our squadron's achievements as well as exposing us to all that the Inland Northwest has to offer. The active honorary commander program here at Fairchild is another example of how the surrounding communities support us and our way of life.

I know the Airmen of our squadron have immensely enjoyed when they have been called upon by our local sports leagues to honor our flag at the opening of events. There are numerous times a year when the entertainment providers of the greater Spokane area donate tickets to the base populous. In my eyes, the communities of the Inland Northwest should be thanked by all military-affiliated personnel for their continuous support and hospitality.

Living here has been a true highlight of my career. During your tenure at Fairchild, make it a point to get out and enjoy all that this great area has to offer.

Go run in the Lilac Bloomsday Run; spend a Bavarian weekend in Leavenworth; play in Hoop Fest; take in a concert or play; become a Chiefs or Shock fan; hit the ski slopes; but whatever you do, remember to thank the kind people for all they share with us, but mostly for their appreciation for what we do.

Remember that our community supports us.