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Family Readiness volunteers kick off 2009 Holiday Benevolence Program

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- A meal drive in November and December was spearheaded by a small group of private citizens from the Silicon Valley community, providing a dozen frozen turkeys and incidentals to Airmen for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This effort was facilitated by one of the new 129th Rescue Wing Family Readiness volunteer coordinators, Micayla Wiltron, of the 129th Operations Group. Micayla is the proud mother of Senior Airman Jeremiah Wiltron, an Integrated Avionics Systems Journeyman with the 129th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Micayla joined the volunteer team in June, starting with the homecoming of our Djibouti returnees. She initially became the squadron volunteer coordinator for the 129th Rescue Squadron under Lt. Col. Dan Lapastole, commander for the 129th Rescue Squadron. Not many weeks later her presence quickly grabbed the attention of Col. Mark Sheehy, commander for the 129th Operations Group, during the Family Day Picnic Oct. 3.

Col. Sheehy asked Micayla to assume a higher role of overseeing the group-level Family Readiness Program in addition to her already established rapport with the 129th RQS.

Sharing equal esteem is another newcomer to the Family Readiness Program - Elaine Vindiola, wife of Master Sgt. Mark Vindiola, traffic manager with the 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Elaine's natural leadership abilities quickly adopted Micayla as a mentor through the nuances of the Guard family lifestyle. They also supported each other through the emotionally-consuming deployment process. (although Elaine's husband wasn't deployed, Micayla's son was).

Between Micayla, Elaine and all the help from their children, the packing, stuffing and distributing of the donated turkey meals was a very smooth operation. Their determination and spirit of compassion along with the handful of private anonymous donors deserve thanks for the impact on the lives of those they helped.

Lt. Col. James Henderson, commander of the 129th AMXS, expressed his very personal thanks to both Elaine and Micayla immediately upon hearing Airmen from his unit were helped. Lt. Col. Roin Nance, brand new commander to 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron, donated a generous amount of wrapping paper to help our volunteers during the last days of the project. Lt. Col. David Jaurique, deputy group commander of 129th Mission Support Group and Maj. Roxanne Toy, commander of the 129th Force Support Flight, were hospitable hosts for our volunteers working each week on this benevolence project.

Furthermore, thanks is also given for the enthusiastic efforts of Beverly Rogers, 129th Medical Group volunteer coordinator, and Louise Tamayo, 129th Maintenance Group volunteer coordinator, ensuring that the Giving Tree Program was set up in their respective areas. Thanks to Julie DeMaria of Operation Care and Comfort, Eric Firestone of the Moffett Commissary, community agencies who participated in the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the private donors.

In closing, thanks to all of those who participated in helping our families in need.