Serving their nation and community Published Dec. 7, 2009 By Air Force Major Jennifer C. Howsare 126th Air Refueling Wing Scott AFB, Illinois -- Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) cadets are no strangers to hard work and helping others. Cadets are often involved in community projects within their local communities where they can perform as a team and demonstrate their commitment to being well-informed and helpful citizens. Recently, cadets from three local AFJROTC detachments put their hard work and ingenuity together to support a community more than 6,400 miles from their own. The detachments teamed together to collect toiletries, school supplies, toys, and clothing in support of the Sather Air Base, Iraq, Good Neighbor Program. When the last box was packed, sealed and addressed, more than 425 pounds of donated items were enroute to help the Sather AB Rising Six Group, which sponsors the program. Each detachment was given a list of requested donation items and asked to bring what they could to support the cause. Cadets used this request as a challenge and immediately began devising ways to collect supplies. One detachment asked for monetary donations from people attending a local Veteran's Day parade, and then used the collected funds to purchase items from the donation list. The other detachments placed collection boxes around their school campuses. Cadets delivered their collected items to the 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott AFB, Ill., on Nov. 16. The supplies were quickly packaged and shipped to the Sather AB Rising Six Group. They in turn distributed them to needy families during their December monthly visit to the local Iraqi communities. In true team spirit, the REALTOR(r) Association of NorthWest Chicagoland sponsored $300 towards the total cost of shipping and members of the 126th ARW provided packing materials and shipped the boxes. Chief Master Sgt. Jodi Stauber, the 148th Fighter Wing command chief for the Minnesota Air National Guard in Duluth, Minn., has been involved with the Sather AB Good Neighbor Program and said she volunteers because it's a good chance to give back. "We should reach out to the citizens around us and build those relationships," she said. "It's important to take the time to appreciate this community. I would encourage anyone to come and enjoy the time spent. It's definitely worthwhile." This collection and shipping effort was definitely a group of people reaching out to the citizens around them, both near and far, and building relationships. Many lives will be touched and enriched because there are still citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.