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Sports and fitness, culture of caring are hallmarks of WPAFB
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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel, as individuals or team members, rose to many challenges during 2017. Here’s a look back at the past 12 months of sporting events and a culture of caring on base:

Sports, fitness, caring and awareness events

■ The USO Community Center celebrated a year of taking care of Airmen and other service members Feb. 24. The center is intended for all branches of active-duty military, Guard, reservists and their families as a “home away from home” and provides donated housekeeping and clothing items from its Airman’s Attic. The number of troops who have gone through the doors was the USO’s No. 1 accomplishment during its first year, said Mia Walthers, USO Community Center manager.

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■ Staff Sgt. Christopher Kemp, a medical technician in the Maternal Childcare Flight, Inpatient Operations Squadron, 88th Medical Group, had a boxing bout Feb. 25 as part of Dayton History Fight Night at Memorial Hall in Dayton.

■ A champion of trees celebrating its 20-year status as a Tree City USA, Wright-Patterson AFB did something natural in observance of Arbor Day 2017 – base personnel had a hand in planting a half dozen trees. Staff from the 88th Civil Engineer Group, Installation Management, Environmental Branch, Assets Section coordinated the planting of a variety of American beech, blue spruce, scarlet oak and sugar maple trees April 26 at the Wright Memorial, Area B, and Fire Station Number 1, Area A, in honor of Arbor Day. Fifty Honor Society students from Baker Middle School in Fairborn helped plant four trees.

■ More than 300 Wright-Patterson AFB personnel gathered to run a 5K in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month April 28 near the Rod & Gun Club in Area A. The event, “Race for Respect,” was sponsored by the Wright-Patterson AFB Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and the Top 3.

■ The second annual Wright-Patterson Air Force Base EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Memorial 5K was held May 6 at Eastwood Park in Dayton. The race was held on National EOD Day and honored members of the armed forces who have risked their lives disposing explosives. The event was held in memory of Tech. Sgt. Daniel Douville, who was killed in action in 2011 while operating in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

■ Wright-Patterson AFB was the first military installation nationwide to be declared a “Bee City USA.” A first-ever Pollinator Expo June 21 was coordinated by personnel in the Installation Management, Environmental Branch, Assets Section, 88 CEG. The event included about 30 booths devoted to live demonstration hives, beekeepers making demonstrations, conservancy districts, natural resources proponents, food trucks and such family-friendly activities as free face painting and children’s hands-on activities.

■ More than 100 people from Wright-Patterson AFB competed in the traveling Alpha Warrior competition July 14. Each participant’s upper body strength was challenged when faced with six obstacles taken from the popular television series “America Ninja Warrior.”

■ The Air Force Security and Cooperation Directorate held its annual softball game Aug. 3 at Kittyhawk Field. The friendly game pitted a team of employees from the directorate against a team of foreign liaison officers from partner nations working on base. The nations represented on the FLOs team included Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Portugal, South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands and Argentina. AFSAC won the game by a score of 15 to 7. Later in the day, the directorate held its annual family picnic at Young’s Jersey Dairy in which more than 400 people showed up.

■ More than 100 children from the Prairies Youth Center, Kittyhawk School Age Program and other base youth programs attended an anti-bullying program Aug. 8 sponsored by the Wright-Patterson AFB School Liaison Office.

■ The Wright-Patterson AFB community gathered for a lifesaving cause Aug. 18 to raise awareness of and prevent suicides, via the third annual Suicide Awareness 5K Run/Walk. The event was sponsored by the Wright-Patt Suicide Awareness Planning Committee, in conjunction with the 88th Medical Group’s Mental Health Clinic and the Rising 6. Several hundred people ran or walked from Pylon Road to Marl Road to Hebble Creek Road.

■ The Radio City Rockettes performed their famous kick line on the stage of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Theater during a USO-sponsored show Aug. 22. The next day, two of the Rockettes conducted a free dance class for Wright-Patterson AFB dependents.

■ Reservists from the 445th Airlift Wing played baseball against Airmen from the active-duty side in the 10th annual Sports Challenge Aug. 5 at Dodger Field. The competition was sponsored by the Air Force Sergeants Association Kittyhawk Chapter 751. The purpose of these events is to bring the active-duty and reserve component together at least once a year to share in the camaraderie of the total force.

■ For the fourth time, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate held its annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Challenge over the course of two days to remember those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. The event kicked off Sept. 7 with the Tower Challenge, a climb of almost 163 feet up 13 stories and 253 steps up the 13-story tower inside Bldg. 620, Area B.

■ A local Boy Scout troop flexed its muscles during the summer, making needed improvements to Wright-Patterson AFB’s youth campground. Members of Troop 162 laid gravel paths, built a backdrop and repaired benches around the campfire ring. They also restored the catch basin around the campground’s sole potable water source. These improvements enhanced the camping experience for visiting Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and other youth groups who will use the campground for years to come.

■ As participants of the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base ran in the annual race, runners at deployed locations half-a-world away also raced. Despite being deployed in a hostile environment, where enemy attacks are always possible, Airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, competed in an arduous 26.2- or 13.1-mile run Sept. 16.

■ Maj. Gary Webb, 88 MDG Inpatient Squadron’s Critical Care Flight commander, and Capt. Landrus Burress, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine chief of Epidemiology and Field Support Section, formed a support group – the first in the Department of Defense – for stutterers like themselves.

■ The 88 MDG is the first military medical center in Ohio to participate in a civilian Health Information Exchange program. This program provides real-time patient information and improves communication with civilian providers. Through collaboration with the Ohio Health Information Partnership, a Health Information Exchange and non-profit organization, patient records are kept current and physicians able to review patient encounters in a real-time environment. This data exchange allows physicians to coordinate patient care with outside civilian hospitals for the 58,000 patients cared for at Wright-Patterson. There are 157 hospitals currently participating in the HIE, including the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton, Premier Health Partners and the Kettering Health Network.

■ The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Tennis Club – the only indoor tennis club in the Air Force – celebrated its 40th anniversary Dec. 18.

Volunteer and community outreach

■ Self-defense training continued to be readily available to base personnel due to the Gracie Defense Systems Self-Defense Program for Military Personnel. The training certifies active-duty Airmen in jiu-jitsu for self-defense instruction, increasing their self-awareness, self-confidence and self-determination.

■ Active-duty military members and veterans were invited by 4 Paws for Ability to raise puppies in a new veterans/active-duty military program under development. 4 Paws for Ability is a Xenia-based but nationally renowned nonprofit organization whose mission is to place service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have combat-related injuries and have lost use of limbs or hearing; help with animal rescue; and educate the public regarding use of service dogs in public places.

■ A group of 20 volunteers from the Rising 6 organization at Wright-Patterson AFB assembled 120 bag lunches for St. Vincent de Paul’s Gateway Shelter for Women and Families in Dayton Feb. 25 in the dining facility of Wright-Patterson Medical Center. The lunches were distributed to women and children who were homeless or lived in the shelter or were economically disadvantaged.

■ Members of the Rising 6 organization at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base volunteered April 8 at Hope Church in Miamisburg to fit dozens of children from the local area with the basic necessities of new, correctly fitting gym shoes and socks in coordination with the Shoes 4 the Shoeless nonprofit in Dayton.

■ The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Volunteer Program celebrated its 35th anniversary by honoring more than 540 volunteers during a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet May 5. David Stemen of Beavercreek received the 2016 Director’s Award for Volunteer of the Year for his dedication and excellence in serving the museum and the U.S. Air Force.

■ More than a dozen volunteers from the KC-46 Program Office donated five hours of their time, performing a range of activities, including prepping and cooking meals, serving, cleaning and grounds keeping as part of the volunteer event June 28 at the House of Bread in Dayton.

■ Members of the 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Wright-Patterson AFB donated more than $800 worth of school supplies to the Montgomery County Educational Services Center in Dayton Sept. 25. The supplies were donated by members of the group staff and reserve citizen Airmen from the 14th, 64th and 71st Intelligence Squadrons.

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