From the Desk of Fighter Country Partnership,
I’d like to share a story about a person I met a few weeks ago. I was at a local restaurant about to have lunch when an older gentleman came up to me and introduced himself. I was wearing a Fighter Country Partnership polo and he noticed (and liked) the logo. I invited him to sit down and I proceeded to tell him about Fighter Country Partnership and what we do to support Luke Air Force Base. He mentioned that he had served in the Air Force back in the 1970s and that his grandson was currently stationed at Luke.
I enjoy talking about our human services program because that is where the “rubber meets the road” in terms of efforts to support to the men, women and families of Luke Air Force Base. I talked about the Pilot for a Day program. I told him, honestly, I had seen that program in real life when I was still on active duty working for the Luke Wing Commander. I remember meeting a young man who was waiting with his family for his lunch with a group of fighter pilots and to meet the commander. The pilots arrived, called him by his new call sign and he absolutely loved it. He had already been in a cockpit of an F-16 and toured around a fighter squadron.
We continued to speak about what the Air Force was like for him then, and the differences and similarities of what his grandson is experiencing. A lot of things are the same, but a lot of things are different, he told me, as he laughed. His grandson deployed for the first time a few months back and is expecting to be home by the end of the year. His grandson’s wife and child are waiting for him to return while they get their child into the first grade. It was a big event for the family and without a prompt from me, went on to talk about the backpack and supplies they had been given a few weeks prior.
He talked about the bounce houses, hot dogs, and the fun his family had that evening. I went on to tell him that the Back to School Bash was a resounding success where we partnered with the base chapel and the USO to give out over 600 backpacks with school supplies to Luke families.
He told me that was the biggest difference between his time in the service and now. They never would have done for us back when he served and (pointing at my FCP logo) he told me, and there certainly wasn’t anything like Fighter Country Partnership.
I told him to ask his grandson’s wife, the next time they spoke, to find out if she went to the deployed family’s dinner at the Wigwam. He laughed again and seemed amazed that we were doing so much for the base. I smiled back and told him that we hadn’t even scratched the surface.
This is what continues to fascinate me about this organization. We have lofty goals, on one hand, with the Foundation Capital Campaign, and on the other hand, have programs that reach down and touch an individual family.
Yet another reason why I enjoy coming to work every day.
President / Executive Director