News: A five-star military family stands behind the force
Story by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- The Air Force prides itself on its investment in its three core values: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Thousands of airmen across the globe implement these virtues into their lives at work, home and in their communities.
Occasionally an Air Force family comes along that goes above and beyond the call of duty, embracing the spirit of giving back to the community. Tech. Sgt. Elroy Williams and family epitomize this ideal, serving as stewards of altruism, excellence and generosity in the Hampton Roads community.
Williams, the Protocol Ceremony NCOIC of Headquarters Air Combat Command, extended his commitment to excellence outside of his work. He has volunteered with a multitude of organizations and causes, including Habitat for Humanity, the Langley Youth Center and several local schools’ parent-teacher associations, and even established Transitions Violence Services Adopt-A-Family program, designed to assist victims of domestic violence.
Nicole, Williams’ wife, served four years in the Air Force in services, and now works as a Department of Defense civilian at Langley. Nicole served as the 633d Force Support Squadron’s key spouse, assisting spouses of deployed Airmen with quality of life issues and mentoring. In addition, she volunteers her time in two PTAs and several charity organizations, including the United Way and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event.
Nicole said she believes her family’s time is their most important contribution.
“Donating time is much bigger than donating money,” said Nicole. “Something as simple as a conversation can take someone to the highest heights.”
“We are a family of service,” Williams added. “We know we’re blessed. I can’t take that for granted. We want to give back to this country that’s given us so much.”
Williams attributed his dedication to giving to his father, who brought his family to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica.
“My dad gave us the opportunity to excel and do well, and I try to impart those opportunities to my family,” he said. “We should always help somebody. My father told me ‘never look down on a man unless you’re going to pick him up.’”
According to Nicole, the family, including their daughters, Muricia, 19, and Tamia, 12, developed routines to follow while Williams is deployed, which allows them the time to participate in the community without missing a beat.
“As long as you have two great kids, it helps. They keep home on even keel; calm, cool and collected,” Nicole said. “We stick to a routine to keep the chaos out.”
Williams said knowing his family is taken care of when he deploys gives him peace of mind that allows him to focus his efforts on mission accomplishment and nurturing his fellow armen.
“When I’m deployed, I don’t have to worry about home. My wife is beside me, we're both partners. I met her, and knew she was the love of my life, and she liked me, too,” he said, laughing.
Much like their parents, Muricia and Tamia have dedicated their efforts to academics and helping others. Muricia, currently enrolled at Longwood University in Farmville, provided daycare and volunteer service at Langley Youth Centers and at a local daycare center, and is working toward earning her master’s degree in early childhood education.
“I want to be able to provide children with the same environment my parents gave to me,” Muricia said.
Tamia, a Presidential Academic Award recipient, aspires to become a veterinarian and animal rehabilitator, using her time to volunteer at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis animal clinic, the local SPCA and the Virginia Living Museum.
The family’s collective efforts earned them the 2010 Armed Forces YMCA Five-Star Military Family of the Year Award, as they were selected to represent the Air Force. The family appeared before local business owners, fellow military and community leaders Nov. 12 in Norfolk to receive the honors.
“We’re happy about the award, but we didn’t do anything for recognition,” Williams explained. “My daughters will live a life doing good will. My family is 99 percent of who I am. If they’re not happy, I’m not happy. They give me the strength to get up and go on.”
Williams said his family will continue living a life steeped in community and compassion, donating their time and efforts wherever they go. He expressed his concern about what he sees as “a lack of compassion” in society, and imparted wisdom to others who strive to make a difference in the lives of others.
“Just be happy with where you’re at and help other people. At some point, someone has helped you,” he explained. “So many people need help, if even a ‘hi’ and smile. Sometimes, it seems that compassion has been lost in our culture. Society is losing its sense of community.
“If you can give back, give back,” he said. “I’m blessed to have my family. Not everyone is in the same situation, and we will continue to help those who need it most.”