Giving back to our community

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Sharks, once again, I commend you on a successful week. Your sacrifice during the Columbus Day holiday continues to reap great benefits to the wing and the nation. As we look forward to the holiday season and a time for giving, I'd like to point your attention to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This is our annual opportunity to give back to the community - the community that is so giving and supportive of us. There are several reasons why giving to CFC makes sense and I would like to delve into a few of them.

Time and again, Americans have rated the military as the public institution they trust most. That was true again this year when of the 16 societal institutions mentioned in Gallup's June 2007 survey, the military emerged as top-rated. It is easy to understand why - especially during a time of war, when so many of you and your families are making so many selfless sacrifices for our Nation and our fellow Americans.

But those sacrifices do not always take the form of deploying to hostile areas or working long hours prosecuting our launch campaigns. Many of those contributions come in the way of giving back to the community by serving as volunteers and/or giving to the charitable organizations of your choice.

And you can easily take care of the latter with a gift to CFC through payroll deduction, cash or check. It is one of only two fundraising endeavors officially sanctioned by the U.S. Air Force. CFC is certainly something I support and believe in. Not only can we make a difference locally, but nationally and internationally, too. There are literally hundreds of agencies you can support via CFC. These are agencies that help the elderly, children, the poor, the hungry and many more.

The great things about CFC are:
* It is completely voluntary. You decide how and if you want to contribute;
* Charities you support focus on those who really need help;
* You can direct your support to charities that work on the issues you care about; and 
* It has been around for over three decades and has a proven track record for efficiency.

And if you don't think supporting the CFC hits close to home, one in four federal employees or their dependents will benefit from CFC this year. Odds are that you or someone you know will receive help from a CFC charity.

I hope you will participate in our kickoff event today. It is a beach run/walk starting at The Tides at 2 p.m. It will be lots of fun and will offer the chance to promote both the CFC and physical fitness. Whether you can make it or not, please consider giving. Our goal is 100 percent contact, anything you can do will be "Helping Our World Forward." Go Sharks!