Story by SSgt David Owsianka on 06/17/2019Whether it's on the other side of the world or right here at home, Airmen within the 317th Airlift Wing consistently work to provide vital assistance to get people back on their feet.
"It doesn't matter if the person is part of our squadron or not, we help out anybody," said Master Sgt. Matthew Hill, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron blue aircraft maintenance unit lead production superintendent. "It's very important to help people in a time of need."
The 317th Airlift Wing Airmen and C-130J Super Hercules can be seen around the world providing combat and humanitarian airlift operations. They support U.S. and allied service members in military operations, but they also support nations around the world in times of need.
"You never know what you are going to run into, whether it's a person who has a flat tire or someone needing mentorship," Hill said. I always think of setting a positive example when it comes to building our younger Airmen.
While Dyess Airmen have provided humanitarian relief all over the world, they also step up in times of need at the place they call home: Abilene.
Most recently, airmen from the 317th AW stepped in to help a member of their unit, as well as local community members, after a tornado struck the city and damaged approximately 100 homes in May 2019.
Shortly after the tornado passed, several Airmen from the 317th AMXS checked on the house of Staff Sgt. Francois Meyer, 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron navigator, who is part of their squadron and currently deployed.
"Mother nature took her toll on his house," explained Tech. Sgt. John Gonzales, 317th AMXS specialist section NCO in charge. "We're a family, so no matter what happens we'll lend a hand."
When seven Airmen arrived at Meyer's house, they saw part of the roof torn off, one of the doors ripped away from the house and some of his belongings laying on the ground. They quickly sprang into action by getting a trailer to pack his belongings to put them in a storage unit. They also placed trash bags over his electronics to prevent more water damage and took pictures for insurance purposes. The group of Airmen moved on to help others in the neighborhood with their houses after they completed taking care of Meyer's house.
"I really appreciated my fellow Airmen taking care of my house and things on such short notice," Meyer said. "All of the help they provided truly took a lot of stress of the situation off my shoulders. With their help, I was able to keep moving forward like nothing happened."
This isn't the first time Dyess Airmen aided community members in a time of need.
In 2018, four Dyess Airmen saw a 70-year-old veteran who crashed his vehicle into a creek. While bystanders called emergency responders, the Airmen quickly responded to the scene and assessed the driver. The Airmen checked his injuries and airways while first responders made their way to the scene.
These are merely two examples of Dyess Airmen seeing a need and lending a hand. While these events reached the local news, Airmen are in the Abilene and regional communities finding ways to make a difference for their wingmen and community neighbors.
Dyess Airmen are out there making a difference whether it's right here at home or on the other side of the world.