Program warms hearts of Airmen in need

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Life's mishaps do not 'take time off' for the holiday season. Operation Warmheart is here to provide short-term financial help for Whiteman families and the surrounding military community with unforeseen life expenses, especially during the upcoming holidays.

Operation Warmheart is a non-profit, charitable organization administered by the Whiteman Air Force Base First Sergeants Council. Additional help is provided by volunteer groups, including the enlisted and officers spouses groups, local businesses, private donations and community organizations.

"Our focus is to take care of the Whiteman family and the surrounding military community while exhausting any avenue available to get that done," said Master Sgt. Brad Burt, vice president of the First Sergeants Council. "We provide temporary, food, shelter, and gas expenses to help active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen and Department of Defense civilians."

The program is supported by all Air Force Global Strike Command bases throughout the year, but additional focus is needed around the holiday season.

"This time of the year is the most important part of Operation Warmheart because this is when the most families are in need." Sergeant Burt said. "It's also when we raise the most money with activities like volunteers bell-ringing at the commissary from 'Black Friday' through Dec. 24."

Operation Warmheart also branches out by supporting programs such as: turkey baskets, a program that supplies families in need with Thanksgiving food baskets, and the Angel Tree, which provides age appropriate gifts for children.

In 2009, Whiteman's Operation Warmheart raised more than $15,000 to support nearly 200 Whiteman families. During Thanksgiving that year, more than 210 meals were given to the military community.

"Our Whiteman family is very involved and caring ... every time we host a fundraising outlet, we always have a handful of volunteers," said Sergeant Burt. "Very supportive servicemembers back a great program here, which continues the spirit of giving year-round."

For more details, or to volunteer, contact a unit first sergeant.