'Wing It' impacts Whiteman and local community

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nick Wilson
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
While being stationed here, some Airmen have said that they have virtually nothing to do to keep them entertained. Because of the unique location of Knob Noster and the surrounding area, it is challenging for many 18-20 year olds to find activities that interest them according to Jeff Huffman, Department of Justice Grant program coordinator.

In an effort to generate activities in the area, 'Wing It' at Whiteman was established to help create fun while reducing underage drinking among Airmen and students from the University of Central Missouri.

The overall vision of 'Wing It' is to not only reduce underage drinking, but also build a community of Airmen and students who participate in safe events and assist the local community through volunteering.

To achieve this goal Airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing and student volunteers from UCM meet up every month to plan and coordinate activities that don't involve alcohol.
Events in the past that had a large numbers of volunteers and participants included: a base pool party with a disc jockey, a day at Truman Lake with pontoon boats, Comedy Nights at UCM and free tickets to new release movies at Carmike Theater in Warrensburg.

Additionally, the organization works with the local community to inform Airmen of available events that are free or inexpensive.

"Through our work we know we are reducing and making it more difficult for underage folks to have access to alcohol, therefore Wing It is impacting our community in a very tangible way," said Jeff Huffman, Department of Justice Grant program coordinator.

Wing It events are sponsored by the Department of Justice and the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws grant. Event funding and advertising costs are paid for with grant money.

"Right now we are only one of two Air Force bases in the country that have been given money to fund Wing It events and we're doing all we can to make this program accessible to Airmen and students," Huffman said.

Also, some Airmen living in the dorms don't have cars, transportation is provided to and from Wing It events.

"We're going take care of Airmen, get them to the events and get them back," Milligan said. "And hopefully they'll enjoy what's being offered."

Even though the target demographic is for Airmen ages 18 to 20, dependents and UCM students have been invited to participate in Wing It events.

"We accept volunteers of any rank to assist in running our events. Our Casino Night had Noncommissioned officers and officers assisting with set-up and decoration." Huffman said. "Wing It can impact Airmen to the degree that they are willing to take over the planning of activities and volunteer service events."

For the most up-to-date information about Wing It events and meetings search Wing It at Whiteman via Facebook or on Twitter at wing_it_at_wafb. The Wing It office can be contacted at (660)543-8074.