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Core Values Hard at Work

Core Values Hard at Work

Lt. Mark Silver, CAP
PAO Reno Composite Squadron

Community service provides great opportunities to put to work Civil Air Patrol’s Core Values. The Reno Composite Squadron has recently put them to work by teaming up with the Reno Tahoe International Airport and several other service organizations. We helped escort the American Council of the Blind delegates to and from their gates for their annual conference held at the Nugget in Sparks in late June and early July 2017. In another joint venture with Reno Tahoe Airport we supplied the event set up help, security, and aerospace education during the Operation Santa Claus event in December.

The American Council for the Blind has an annual conference where technology is demonstrated, keynote speakers, and networking between peers and businesses alike is accomplished as in any other professional conference. Margarine Beaman, the council’s advocate that helps arrange logistics, came to the airport to explain what we could do to facilitate the delegate’s travels to and from the event. Margarine had several helpful lists of how to approach the blind for assistance and how to expect their guide dogs to interact with us. The over 1,000 delegates could be from 18-90 years old and 300 guide dogs were expected. We found quickly it was going to be very hard to keep up with Margarine as she was with us every step of the way.

Sixteen RCS seniors and cadets were among the other groups that split shifts over a three day span during the peak hours of travel for the incoming delegates and very early shifts for departures the following week. The experience was more to our benefit than to the delegates themselves. With each passenger delivered to their destination we found inspiration and had some incredible conversations. The biggest challenge of the day for incoming flights was trying to find someone else’s luggage on the carousel. We found it rewarding time spent helping our fellow men and women. If a little lady from Texas comes calling for help in your area, please answer the call. You will find a friend in Margarine as we all did.

December’s wind brings the joy of the holiday season to most. Some however do not always have great cheer in their lives at that time of year unfortunately. Family events, misfortune, unexpected changes in employment bring some families to the brink of not having a holiday at all. That’s where the Children’s Cabinet steps in, helping bridge the troubled waters by bringing the private sector and government services together to help families through rough times.

Welcome to Operation Santa Claus. RCS teamed up again with the staff of Reno Tahoe International airport, business donations, and the general aviation community to give some sparkle to the holidays. Twenty five families received their holiday in style at the Atlantic Aviation hanger right next door to Nevada Wing Headquarters. The huge hanger made way for tables, chairs, and 25 decorated Christmas Trees the night before the event with help from the airport staff, business personnel, and of course RCS cadets and seniors. Up went a stage and a sleigh. Barber-poled candy canes and games for the children were put into place by the staff.  Twenty five Christmas trees were placed around the seating area awaiting gifts to be delivered.

Our guests arrived the next day before noon and were ushered out to the tarmac where in a short while 20 plus general aviation planes paraded in front of the children and parents followed by a National Guard C130 carrying a very special passenger in a red suit. Our cadets lined the tarmac for the aviation parade and then relocated to provide security to the remaining business jets in the hangar. Upon Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s departure from the Hercules, the hangar doors opened to reveal a feast and stacks of presents under each tree. Captain Richard Brong offered pilot seat views for the children in the CAP Cessna 206 while the families enjoyed the festivities. The event concluded with the families taking all their presents and trees with them.

It is events like these that help instill community service into our cadets. We came away from our helping the American Council for the Blind with a sense of awe and wonder. Most sighted people would consider the loss of vision devastating but this group has shown us you not only can overcome it, you can also lead happy and productive lives. Operation Santa Claus again shows us our community has a big heart. The smiles the families left with us with are the reward that’s lasts all year long.The Reno Composite Squadron is looking forward to supporting more community events in the coming year where Civil Air Patrol’s core values are put to work.

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