News Icon

News: 'Big' airmen make impact for local children

Story by Senior Airman Katrina BrisbinSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

'Big' airmen make impact for local children 2nd Lt. Jessica Brown

Senior airmen Chad Ditch and Brian Claypool, 22nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers, talk with “Littles” during the annual Big for a Day event Aug. 9, 2013, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Team McConnell hosted approximately 50 children from the Sedgwick County chapter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Jessica Brown)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. - As gray Kansas skies poured out rain, 50 "Littles" paired up with airmen, "Bigs," in Hangar 1107 for a day activities.

The Sedgwick County chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters visited McConnell AFB for an annual "Big for a Day" event and didn't let the weather get in the way of fun Aug. 9, 2013.

"Typically this event is hosted by the 349th Air Refueling Squadron," said Capt. Taylor Zahm, 349th ARS scheduling chief. "This year, 22 different base agencies are represented. Nearly every aspect of base is being represented in some way."

The BBBS program provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better. McConnell AFB is one of the national top three ranking bases that support BBBS.

While at McConnell, the "Littles" were matched with airmen, "Bigs."

The children learned about the 22nd Air Refueling Wing's mission while participating in various activities, including a KC-135 Stratotanker static display tour, watching a military working dog demonstration and donning fire protective gear from the base's fire department.

"We've been doing this for six years now," said Alicia Rivas BBBS area program director. "It's a great experience for our kids and great opportunity for the airmen."

The "Littles" also had the opportunity to get their hands on specialized military equipment, participated in a scavenger hunt, had lunch and bowled with their "Bigs."

One of the event's goals was to find possible matches for the children among the eager airmen.

"This is a great way for some of our waiting 'Littles' to spend some time with an excellent role model and have some fun," said Jennifer Koftan BBBS community impact coordinator. "Spending quality time, talking and sharing experiences makes a huge impact on our 'Littles.'"

Not only do days like this impact the "Littles," they also make an impression on the "Bigs."

"The favorite part of the day for me was seeing my 'Little' smile," said Airman 1st Class Jacob Murphy, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "Days like this gives [airmen] a chance to feel that, even though we're 'just airmen,' we can make a difference in someone's life."

The day ended with hugs, high-fives and a loud collective "thank you" from all the children.

"They're going to remember this forever," said Koftan. "They're going to remember the fun stuff as well as spending time with their 'Big' and feeling important."

Connected Media
Images'Big' airmen make...
Staff Sgt. William Turner, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron...
Images'Big' airmen make...
Airman 1st Class Luke Herdade, 22nd Civil Engineer...
Images'Big' airmen make...
Senior airmen Chad Ditch and Brian Claypool, 22nd...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, 'Big' airmen make impact for local children, by SrA Katrina Brisbin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:08.09.2013

Date Posted:08.09.2013 18:17


More Like This

  • A soldier volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso, Feb. 5. The program matches a Big, what the program calls their mentors, with a Small, the child, so they are able to learn and grow from each other.
  • Big brothers and sisters come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, characters and complexions. Turns out they also come in all U.S. services and duty uniforms; in Romania at least, brothers and sisters in arms also serve as surrogate “brothers and sisters” for children who need them.
  • Making a positive impact, no matter how little, on the lives of Iraqis, is a big part of current operations by coalition forces in the Fahama region.
  • Making a positive impact, no matter how little, on the lives of Iraqis is a big part of current operations by coalition forces in the Fahama region.


  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr