USO, military leaders thank KMC

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. Jackie Harris, 24th Intelligence Squadron superintendent, left, loads a Thanksgiving package into a cart during an event sponsored by the United Service Organizations Nov. 18 on Vogelweh Military Complex. Senior enlisted leaders from multiple organizations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community teamed up with the USO to provide military members, pay grade E-5 and below, with Thanksgiving meals.

Leaders from the Army and Air Force joined forces with the United Service Organizations to thank military members in the Kaiserslautern Military Community with an event Nov. 18 on Vogelweh Military Complex.

The team conducted the annual USO Thanks for Thanksgiving event, in which free Thanksgiving packages were provided to enlisted members.. The packages include everything needed to create a Thanksgiving meal: a turkey, ready-to-make side dishes, dessert, and gift cards from Service Credit Union.

“It’s another way for us to show our appreciation for what our Airman do day in and day out,” said Master Sgt. Shane Monterosso, 86th Comptroller Squadron first sergeant. “(With) every opportunity we have to show that appreciation, we need to take full advantage of it … this is one of those opportunities.”

Thanks for Thanksgiving helps leaders say thanks to their troops and provides an avenue for military members’ families to meet their leadership, said Monterosso, who helped recipients pick up their packages.

The event began early in the morning at the Vogelweh Commissary, where volunteers and event organizers set up stations at which the recipients would receive various goods. Senior NCOs helped recipients along the way by pushing a cart for the goods to be placed in.

Monterosso explained that in order to be eligible to receive a package, a member had to be an E-5 or below with at least one dependent child living in the country.

Besides showing gratitude and forming bonds, Monterosso said the event serves as a display of servant leadership. He said senior enlisted leaders should remember they came from small beginnings and should appreciate the service of all military members. “As enlisted leaders we are responsible for the morale of these service members,” he said, “leading by example shows them the ways they can take care of their Airman. Being a positive role model will help bring positivity to the community.”

The USO Thanks for Thanksgiving event is held annually, and this year’s event saw the distribution of more than 200 packages.