Lending a helping hand

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ben Mellon
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Two Airmen from the 134th Air Refueling Wing, stepped in to assist with the relief effort following the devastating wild fires that struck Gatlinburg, Tenn.

After the news broke of the fires Staff Sgts. Charlie Dunkelberger and Logan Shamblin, both crew chiefs for the 134th ARW came together to collect and transport donations that will assist the first responders and families affected by the fires. The Airmen will continue to collect items through Dec. 9, 2016.

"This is my home," said Shamblin. "When you don't know what you can do you feel helpless, so Charlie and I both came together and decided there has to be something we can do to help, and the outcome has been amazing. We are so grateful for all the people that have stepped in to help provide donations."

The two Airmen have been collecting donations at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base ranging from water bottles, gloves and dust masks for the first responders, to clothes, food and toys for the families displaced by the fires.

"It all started from an idea that we decided to put on Facebook," said Dunkelberger. "The support we received was tremendous, and the Facebook page just blew up. Logan and I made ourselves the points of contact but have had others volunteer to collect in other areas and communities. We have had donations from Tuscaloosa, Ala. all the way to New York. We have received items such as monetary donations to purchase items that have been specifically requested by first responders (gloves, dust masks, water bottles), clothing, toiletries, nonperishable food items, and any kind of kids' toys that will make them smile, especially in this time of need where there isn't much for them to smile about."

Shamblin and Dunkelberger are two of many Airmen and Soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard that are stepping up to answer their state's call. Not for the glory but just to help out their neighbor in a time of need.

"We don't want any recognition for this," said Dunkelberger. "It's just the right thing to do. You come together when you see your fellow citizens in need, you step up and do what needs to be done."