Patriotic Article
Military
By USAF SSgt. Joshua Stevens

Airmen Help Florida Youth See Inner Potential
(May 15, 2009)

Maj. Woody Boyd talks to teenagers from the Liberty Juvenile Unit for Special Treatment facility about the mission of the 325th Security Forces Squadron May 5, 2009 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Airmen hosted the teens for a day, showed them the base and mentored the youths. Major Boyd is the 325th SFS commander.
Maj. Woody Boyd talks to teenagers from the Liberty Juvenile Unit for Special Treatment facility about the mission of the 325th Security Forces Squadron May 5, 2009 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Airmen hosted the teens for a day, showed them the base and mentored the youths. Major Boyd is the 325th SFS commander.
 May 5, 2009 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS)

For 10 troubled young men from the Liberty Juvenile Unit for Special Treatment in Bristol, Fla., May 5 was a chance to receive some respite from the confines of juvenile delinquency.

Members of the 325th Security Forces Squadron here hosted the teenagers, who ranged from ages 15 to 18, on a tour of the squadron, as well as other areas around Tyndall Air Force Base to open the boys' eyes to more positive paths they could follow in the future.

"This is about building a long-lasting partnership between our squadron and their rehabilitation organization to help mentor these youths and let them see there's other choices and more to life than the environments they may have come from," said Master Sgt. Trell Chambers, the 325th SFS reports and analysis NCO in charge. "We also want them to know there are people out here who truly

care about their welfare."
The teens were not arbitrarily chosen, either. They are top performers of the Liberty JUST Program who have continued to excel in the areas of good behavior, school and civic-minded activities for a period of at least two months and two weeks. For this, they were selected to participate in the 325th SFS event, said Ray Lasseter, the Liberty JUST team leader.

The day was coordinated a month in advance and was facilitated by 10 325th SFS volunteers. The first event on the docket was an in-brief with Maj. Woody Boyd, the 325th SFS commander, who welcomed them and showed them a video which emphasized the mindset the 325th SFS members pride themselves on.

From there, the teens loaded up for a tour of the 325th Operations Support Squadron radar approach control facility, as well as the air traffic control tower. After arrival, genuine curiosity could be seen on their faces as they asked a great deal of questions, often following up with an animated, "Cool!"

As soon as the tower and RAPCON tour finished, they were given the unique opportunity to stand up-close to the F-22 Raptor and ask questions of a member of its maintenance crew.

Bringing these experiences to the teens brought smiles to Airmen who were helping with the day's events.

"I feel good interacting with the kids," said Airman 1st Class Denton Williams, a 325th SFS member. "It's giving them a better outlook, and the chance to see (what military life) is like."

Next the teens saw a live military working dog presentation, then went on to tour the 325th SFS armory and base defense operations control room. The tour group was then treated to a 325th SFS-hosted lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers in Heritage Park and invited to play volleyball with members of the squadron.

"I feel the partnership affords teens an opportunity to witness real-life success stories of the great Americans who serve our nation," Major Boyd said. "I cannot count the number of Airmen I have met who are positive role models today because of courageous choices they made in their own lives, regardless of the environment from which they came."

He also noted the impact on the members of the 325th SFS.

"For our Airmen, there is no tangible benefit other than the internal satisfaction of giving," he said. "It's not about an enlisted or officer performance report bullet or quarterly award; it's about the heart to serve. Not one of the Airmen who gave of their time and mentors these teens asked what's in it for them."

The 325th SFS plans to conduct visits to the Liberty JUST facility and or more tours to the base at least quarterly in the future. For most of the teens, these visits will be the only break in their regimented routine they receive during their involvement with the program, which typically lasts nine to 12 months.

Article and photo by USAF SSgt. Joshua Stevens
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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