CFC benefits felt directly in KMC

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

Each year, when the Combined Federal Campaign is announced to the more
than four million federal civilian and military employees, Tech. Sgt.
Melissa Wheeler “is thrilled” to enroll, she said. It’s a chance to
give back to organizations like the one that helped her.

Life would be very different without the good work of CFC-supported charities, she said.

“I probably wouldn’t be here today serving my country,” said Sergeant Wheeler, who works in USAFE Public Affairs at Ramstein.

Sergeant Wheeler was born in 1972 in Dakah, the capital of Bangladesh.
Then, the country had just gained independence from Pakistan, where war
had ravaged the country, leaving poverty, poor health and food
shortages in its wake. Days after her birth, Sergeant Wheeler was left
by her biological mother at a rudimentary Red Cross hospital and was
among thousands of children suffering from severe malnutrition and
starvation. At five months old, she weighed less than 10 pounds.  

Fortunately, she said, one of the CFC supported charities committed to
helping orphaned and abandoned children worldwide came to her rescue.
Sergeant Wheeler was among 13 children allowed to leave the country to
be adopted.

And Mark and Sharon Huehls of Indianapolis, Indiana were waiting for
her. They met the eight-month-old “Baby Mili” with tears in their eyes.

The adoption was finalized when Sergeant Wheeler was two years old and
she was naturalized and became a United States citizen when she was
five-years old.  She was raised with her two brothers, Keith and
Andrew, and her sister, Rebecca.  

Growing up in America as an American gave Sergeant Wheeler
opportunities that she would not have had in Bangladesh, she
said.  She joined the Air Force as a way to pay her bills, but “I
stayed in the Air Force because I believe everyone deserves freedom and
I am proud to help provide it,” she said.
The Combined Federal Campaign supports 1,700 approved United States and
international charities, including those that support programs for
children. The 2005 CFC-Overseas runs now until Dec. 2. Last year, the
KMC raised more than $1.1 million.

For more information about CFC-Overseas, contact your project officer or go to