Airmen volunteer at Lowell veterans center

Hanscom Command Chief Master Sgt. Patricia L. Hickey speaks with veterans during a barbecue at the Lowell Veterans Community Care Center July 26. Hanscom volunteers prepared and served more than 120 meals and then met with 60 veterans as part of the daylong event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Hanscom Command Chief Master Sgt. Patricia L. Hickey speaks with veterans during a barbecue at the Lowell Veterans Community Care Center July 26. Hanscom volunteers prepared and served more than 120 meals and then met with 60 veterans as part of the daylong event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Staff Sgt. David Clark, III, visits with veterans a volunteer event at the Lowell Veterans Community Care Center July 26. During the event, Hanscom volunteers prepared and served more than 120 meals and then met with veterans as part of the daylong effort. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Staff Sgt. David Clark, III, visits with veterans a volunteer event at the Lowell Veterans Community Care Center July 26. During the event, Hanscom volunteers prepared and served more than 120 meals and then met with veterans as part of the daylong effort. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – More than 20 Air Force Life Cycle Management Center-Hanscom Airmen volunteered at a barbecue in Lowell, Massachusetts, at a community care center for veterans July 26.

According to the organization’s website, the Veterans Community Care Center provides a supportive environment in which veterans having trouble with community adjustment, interpersonal relations, medication management, addiction problems and vocational problems can receive assistance.

“I think it is important to give back to those who came before us and fought to keep our country free,” said Capt. Kathryn Foote. “The military is a family and that family includes our veterans. It’s important to take care of each other.”

Hanscom volunteers prepared and served more than 120 meals and then met with 60 former service members as part of the daylong effort.

For some who participated, they were inspired to volunteer for personal reasons.

“My grandfathers are both veterans, and since I can't be home to visit with them, it's nice to visit with others,” said Staff Sgt. Samantha Keller. “You feel good about giving back and it's nice to let them reminisce and share their experiences with you.”

Staff Sgt. David Clark, III, volunteered to hear the stories each veteran told.

“When I was younger my grandfather would tell me his Navy stories of being on ships and loading the artillery shells and it just amazed me to hear his old war stories,” said Clark. “When I heard of the opportunity to help out and speak with veterans I jumped right on it so I could hear their stories too.”

Also attending the event were Hanscom’s senior enlisted leaders.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to give back to the vets, to talk with them and share stories,” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Pepper. “It is our duty and obligation to get out in the community, to support and tell our story as well as just be good neighbors.”

Hanscom Command Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Hickey, who will leave the base next month for a new assignment, spoke about the importance of giving back in the community.

“I cannot think of a better way to serve our community and our base than honoring those that have come before us and kept our nation safe,” she said. “They should be our first priority -- always.”

The Air Force Sergeants Association and Paul Revere Chapter of the Air Force Association coordinated the annual barbecue.