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More Than A Shaw Volunteer: The Gift Of Giving
by USAF Airman 1st Class Ashley Gardner - July 26, 2013

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SUMTER, S.C. - Military ceremonies, changes of command, retirements and promotions, focus on change and achievements. People tend to focus on those being awarded, those who reached the goal of making another rank, and those who received new responsibilities as leaders.

An American Red Cross mug sits in front of Larry Huff, 20th Medical Support Squadron station chairman as he sits in front of his desk going through his training procedures, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., July 16, 2013. Huff has been involved with the Red Cross since 2004. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley L. Gardner)
An American Red Cross mug sits in front of Larry Huff, 20th Medical Support Squadron station chairman as he sits in front of his desk going through his training procedures, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., July 16, 2013. Huff has been involved with the Red Cross since 2004. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley L. Gardner)

Individuals, or groups who have accomplished goals, made the next rank and received new leadership responsibilities are often the forefront. Although, the recognized individuals of ceremonial traditions are important, the crowds of people who attend the ceremonies are equally important.

A volunteer, father of four, husband and retiree: Larry Huff, the American Red Cross station chairman for the 20th Medical Support Squadron, is one steady member-of-the-crowd who can be found with a smile on his face.

Huff dedicates his time to support every ceremony he can as often as his schedule allows.

“I enjoy watching ceremonies and seeing the differences from when I was in the military to now,” said Huff. ”Serving in the military had its ups and downs, but I have had some really good moments, I just made the best of what I had.”

The Pennsylvania native retired from Shaw AFB in 1978 as a staff sergeant after 20 years and 6 days of military service. During his time in the military, he served in a variety of locations like the Philippines, Vietnam and Tyndall AFB, Fla.

Since retiring from active duty, Huff has been an active member of the Shaw community.

Huff volunteers his time driving a school bus for the base children, working at the American Red Cross and wrapping gifts in the Base Exchange during the Holiday Season.

“Volunteering for the gift wrapping on base is one of my favorite activities,” said Huff. “It gives me a chance to see people I haven't seen all year or longer and also gives me a chance to work with the Airmen.”

After retirement, and before he found his way back to Shaw AFB, Huff worked for an aircraft company, and a motorcycle shop as a small engine mechanic. He has also worked as a school district bus driver for 21 years.

In 2004, he sat down with his wife and told her he was looking for something new after retiring from the school district, and proceeded to get a job working for the Shaw AFB youth center. Then, Huff went on to volunteer with the American Red Cross and he has been with them since.

“I try to keep busy,” said Huff. “If I stopped doing all this, I would sit down, and I wouldn't last any longer than three to five years.”

The retired staff sergeant has no trouble staying busy; along with volunteering he teaches first aid courses, cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes and babysitting classes.

“Larry is definitely one of our most dedicated volunteers,” said Nancy Cataldo, American Red Cross Sandhills branch executive director. “Over the last couple of years, he has been instrumental in teaching health and wellness training and an assorted amount of briefings on base.”

In April 2013, Huff received special recognition for his volunteer efforts at the Volunteer Excellence Recognition Breakfast for Team Shaw volunteers, showing that good efforts don't go unrecognized.

By USAF Airman 1st Class Ashley Gardner
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2013

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