Devil Raider Finds Ways To Enhance Life For Airmen, Families
by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.
The 2020 year was a difficult time for most, but one Airman found
time to give back and make a difference in his community.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kelly Young, 621st Contingency Response Squadron
self-inspection program manager, over the years, has been a driving
force in his squadron, helping those in need.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kelly Young, 621st Contingency
Response Squadron self-inspection program manager, in
front of his squadron emblem at Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey on Jan. 13, 2021. Young is
active around the base and in his squadron with various
programs that help Airmen and their families. (U.S. Air
Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.)
“If you want to show someone you care about them, you can say it,
or you can show it, and I believe showing it with time, money and
effort is a great thing,” Young said.
Young routinely helps
Airmen and spends countless hours volunteering in the community,
including Holy Eucharist Church, Providence House and Habitat for
Humanity. He’s always helping Airmen in his unit on and off base.
not a needy person, but he knows there are a whole lot of people who
can use a little bit of help,” said Master Sgt. Chris Aversa, 621st
CRS section chief and Young’s supervisor.
instrumental in establishing the “Send A Hero Home” program at Joint
Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, along with his friend,
Senior Master Sgt. Pete Bondi. Bondi wanted to start the program at
JBMDL after seeing the success Young was having with the program
while he was stationed in North Carolina.
Bondi died of
Cancer in 2014, the same year of Young’s permanent change of duty
station to JBMDL. Young picked up where Bondi had left off after
establishing the program with the help of his Knights of Columbus
“Whenever I think about the work and all that ...
went into setting it up here in New Jersey, I think about Pete Bondi,”
The program pays transportation expenses for
service members in the grade of E-3 and below stationed in New
Jersey to travel home for the holidays.
In 2012, the program
sent home three people. In 2019, the program helped send home 224
people to be with family and friends for the holiday, he said.
“My hobby is working for the Airmen like a dad, best friend, and
friend or sometimes just have an ear and listen,” Young said. “Send
a Hero Home is just one of the ways we work for ours. Although it
was a while ago, I remember being a young, broke Airman who loved
their family but was not stationed close enough to make it home and
make my bills.”
When he’s not home with his six children or
flipping houses, Young is on the go working on helping others.
Recently, he helped an Airman who had two sets of twins eight
months apart. To help with the financial burden, Young helped raise
money to buy the family a stroller, assist with food expenses, and
helped them enroll in the Women, Infants, and Children’s Program.
“It’s funny because I just answer my phone when it comes to
all the people around the base we were helping out,” Young said.
“It’s like one of those weird how would you like to be treated
Young has a set of twins himself and knows from
experience what it means for people to receive help. During his
wife's deployment, Young was left to take care of the kids and was
stressed out, he said.
The twins caught Hand, Foot, and
Mouth Disease, and one required surgery. At the hospital, friends
and coworkers brought him food.
“It was the pick-me-up I
needed,” Young said. “What was great, though, is I didn’t ask.
People came to help. My motivation is how good it felt when I was
down to get picked up from all those around me.”
At the end
of the day, Young doesn’t look at himself as Michael Jordan, just a
jack of all trades with a passion for helping others, he said.
His leadership recently nominated him for the “Spirit of Hope”
award, an honor given to individuals or organizations that epitomize
selfless service and dedicated commitment to the military.
On top of all the projects he’s involved in, Young manages the
commander’s inspection programs to identify deficiencies in his
squadron programs to ensure they are mission-ready.
favorite part of his job is the opportunity to talk to everybody in
“He feels like his job isn’t to tell people
what to do, but assist in helping people find the right way to do
it,” Aversa said. “He’s full of love and admiration for his
coworkers, and he’s talented without being in your face about it.”
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