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Patriotic Article
Noble Efforts

By Sr. Airman Steele C. G. Britton

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Airmen Distribute Donations To Orphanage In Kyrgyzstan
(December 18, 2009)

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Senior Airman Amy Poch hands a teddy bear to a Nizhanchuisk Orphanage and School student during a visit in December. Airmen from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan delivered over 50 donated boxes of clothes, toys and necessities from the U.S., to the orphanage. Airman Poch is a 376th Expeditionary Medical Group laboratory technician.
Senior Airman Amy Poch hands a teddy bear to a Nizhanchuisk Orphanage and School student during a visit in December. Airmen from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan delivered over 50 donated boxes of clothes, toys and necessities from the U.S., to the orphanage. Airman Poch is a 376th Expeditionary Medical Group laboratory technician. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi
 TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan (12/15/2009 - AFNS) -- Several Airmen stationed at the Transit Center at Manas here recently delivered more than 60 boxes to a local orphanage that were sent by a dental college in Texas and others throughout America.

Kyrgyz children and teachers at the Nizhanchuisk Orphanage and School had no idea what was in store for them when the Airmen came to visit the school in early December.

Dental hygiene program students and instructors at Blinn College located in Bryan, Texas, came together to help a Kyrgyz orphanage.

"We are so blessed (in America) and I felt like we needed to do something to help these children," said Marque' Mathis, a Blinn College dental hygiene instructor.

Mrs. Mathis reached out to her students and fellow faculty members after her nephew, Lt. Col. Lee Landis, who is deployed to the Transit Center, contacted her for help.

"I send a weekly e-mail update to my family and friends in the U.S. about my deployment and I asked for their help after hearing the needs of the Nizhanchuisk Village Orphanage," said Colonel Landis, the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing chief of safety. "My Aunt Marque' is a great lady. She told me immediately that she would reach out to her students at the college for help."

All 24 junior and senior-year students enrolled in the dental hygiene program at Blinn College gave a helping hand with collecting, packaging and sending

out the 53 boxes to the orphanage.
"It was a group effort by all the students in the program," said Jamie Gladden, a Blinn College dental hygiene senior student. "Community service is very important to us and I feel that it is an imperative aspect of our education. Knowing that these children will have the basic essentials we all were so fortunate to grow up with is a wonderful feeling."

Colonel Landis and fellow Airmen traveled to the Nizhanchuisk Orphanage with a vehicle packed with donations for the children and teachers there.

"A group of Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society members and I delivered the boxes in early December and the smiles on the children's faces came instantly," Colonel Landis said. "The faculty was very appreciative of the generosity from America. The students could barely sit still as we walked around the classroom and gave out socks, jackets, shirts, and pants."

"The children shook our hands, gave us high-fives, and wanted to take pictures with us," he said. "It made all of us feel good that we could see the direct impact on the lives of children that have very little."

Senior Airman John Reuter, the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society focus group leader for the Nizhanchuisk Orphanage, also handed out gifts to the children.

"When we handed out the items at the orphanage you could just see the children's eyes light up," said Airman Reuter, a 376th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron security journeyman at Manas. "They had never seen clothes like this in their lifetime. They had never seen clothes that didn't have holes; clothes that had working zippers; clothes that still had all the buttons attached."

"When I let Colonel Landis and other MABOS members know of the direct needs of the orphanage, everyone immediately began making contacts back home," he said.

Blinn College students and numerous other organizations in the U.S. donated over the past several months to include Lycoming Nursery School in Pa., Wilson Junior High School in Wisc., Silver Creek Church in Wash., St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Neb., friends and family of Tech. Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez, St. John's Catholic Church in Va., and many others sent more than 200 boxes.
 
Blinn College dental hygiene program students in put together boxes of clothing, toys and necessities to send to Kyrgyz children at the Nizhanchuisk Village Orphanage and School in Kyrgyzstan Oct. 24, 2009 in Bryan, Texas. The dental students are very active in community service and took time to put together more than 50 boxes to send to Kyrgyzstan in November.
Blinn College dental hygiene program students in put together boxes of clothing, toys and necessities to send to Kyrgyz children at the Nizhanchuisk Village Orphanage and School in Kyrgyzstan Oct. 24, 2009 in Bryan, Texas. The dental students are very active in community service and took time to put together more than 50 boxes to send to Kyrgyzstan in November. Courtesy photo
"Without a doubt, our friends and family back home created a miracle for these orphans and will forever make a lasting impact on the U.S.-Kyrgyz relationship," Airman Reuter said.

Article and photo by USAF Sr. Airman Steele C. G. Britton
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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