Airman’s Attic meets needs of servicemembers, families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dillon
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen from all ranks who need free household items for their dorm or house, clothes for themselves or their family, or who have extra belongings they no longer need, can visit the Airman's Attic here Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in building 4000. 

The three-room facility is managed by Airmen from the 40th Helicopter Squadron and run by volunteers. 

What can a person find at the Airman's Attic? Senior Airman Michael Frank, 40th HS aircrew training specialist, said people can find just about anything, and seeing what people bring in is half the fun of being a volunteer. 

"Someone brought in a brand new [APECS] that was still in the packaging one day," Airman Frank said. "Sometimes we get items and we don't even know what they are. Right now we have a harness that goes to something -- we're still trying to figure out what it's for." 

The Airman's Attic also has unique eclectic items in addition to uniform items, clothes and kitchen ware. On the shelf May 28, was a bowling pin painted like a doll complete with bow, straw hat and rosy cheeks. In the children's room, a stuffed snow man was displayed with a backwards hat and sunglasses sporting an enormous necklace with the word "ICE" written in chromed plastic. 

The facility also has books, said Senior Airman Kyle Meck, 40th HS flight engineer, "One slow day when I was volunteering, I read 'The Right Stuff,'" (a book about the original Mercury 7 astronauts,) he said. "It's a lot busier there now." 

More common items include a washer and dryer that Airman 1st Class Carolmesha Stroud, 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic management apprentice placed on hold to pick up the following week. 

"I arrived on base in March and this is my first time here," Airman Stroud said. "I got some dishes for my house and saved about $60. I encourage people to go. It's nice and well organized." 

Since the 40th HS took over management of the Airman's Attic in October 2008, the amount of customers has risen from four or five per day to more than 30, said Master Sgt. Scott Andrews, 40th HS operations superintendent. 

"About 90 percent of the people who walk in, walk out with something," Sergeant Andrews said. "We have a lot more donations now than when we started too. We aren't hanging onto stuff, it's just coming in so fast, we can't get it all on the shelves." 

To solve this problem, the Airman's Attic will be moving in several weeks to the opposite end of building 4000, into an area twice the size of where they are now, Sergeant Andrews said. 

"[The 341st Civil Engineer Squadron] will be coming in to help put up some more shelves, and we'll go from roughly 1,300 square feet to 2,600. All we need now is more volunteers." 

Volunteers do not have to call ahead to volunteer, they just have to show up ready to work during regular hours, said Leah Andrews, volunteer. 

"When they get here I'll put them to work," she said. "There is always something to do, and volunteers get first dibs on donations that come in." 

Sergeant Andrews said the 40th HS is hoping to gain more steady volunteers as well. People who can commit to one day a month or every other week are encouraged to volunteer. 

Donations are taken during hours of operation, but arrangements can be made to donate at other times in some circumstances, Mrs. Andrews said. 

"There is a phone number on the door and if people can't make it to donate when we're open, they can call the number and we can set up a time. People have left things near the door in the past and I have had to throw things away because they were rained or snowed on." 

The Airman's Attic cannot accept car seats or any items that do not work. 

"Volunteering at the Airman's Attic is about people," Airman Meck said. "If you care about people and helping fellow Airmen, this is a 'put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is' opportunity." 

Military members and their families unable to donate during regular hours to arrange a donation time by calling Sergeant Andrews at 788-8685.