Community cause and effect: Whiteman AFB Elementary student thanks 509th SFS defender
By Airman 1st Class DeVan Halstead, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 19, 2021
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
“Dear Security Forces, thank you for keeping us safe when danger is nearby,” wrote Omar, a fourth grade student from Whiteman Air Force Base Elementary School. “P.S. I am your biggest fan.”
Omar demonstrated his support when he personally handed a letter to U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dylan Wohlford, a 509th Security Forces entry point controller, while he was performing his duties at Spirit Gate.
“The fact that this student went out of his way to write a letter to the whole squadron and deliver it to us, not only made me feel good, but it made me appreciate being part of Security Forces, and it made me proud to be in the United States Air Force,” said Wohlford. “It was amazing to see that someone that young could understand and appreciate what we do.”
Wohlford, along with five additional Security Forces Airmen, decided to visit the school and teach Omar’s class about what they do as defenders.
“I was blown away by Wohlford’s response,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Heitzmann, a 509th Security Forces Squadron flight chief. “He volunteered to take some of the little free time that he has to go and meet these students and teach them about what we do.”
Wolhford and his fellow Security Forces Airmen answered the students’ questions on what it’s like to be a defender and about the Air Force experience and lifestyle.
Wohlford said the students encouraged him with their enthusiasm and that he loved getting the opportunity to teach the next generation about the Air Force.
At the end of the exchange, Wolhford and the other Airmen called Omar to the front of the classroom and presented him with the junior crime fighter badge along with their Delta Flight patch.
“Omar wrote the letter on his own time,” said Alli Lapp, Omar’s teacher at Whiteman Air Force Base Elementary School. “He was really passionate about doing this and one day he hopes to join Security Forces.”
Lapp recognized the significant act of kindness Omar demonstrated.
“I’m proud of him for doing that all on his own,” said Lapp. “I even talked to him afterward and explained to him how what he did had a positive effect on others. That’s how we build community and I hope my entire class took that message away from this experience.”
In addition to Lapp’s message, Wolhford had his own message he hoped the class took away from the event.
“I feel like having a good relationship with the community is important,” said Wolhford. “I want this visit to help remind the students that they don’t have to be afraid of us. I want them to know that they can rely on us.”
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Sydney Rivera, a 509th Security Forces flight commander, recognized Wolhford for his actions.
“I expect my airmen to maintain a positive image,” said Rivera. “I hope that they act in the same manner as Wohlford did.”
Wohlford and the rest of his flight said that they hope to continue engaging with the Whiteman community and excelling at their job in order to make that community proud.