News: 'Cops for Kids' visit Red River Orphanage
Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Benedetti
KRASNAYA RECHKA, Kyrgyzstan -- Airmen from the 376th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron visited the Krasnaya Rechka (Red River) Village Orphanage, Sept. 1., to deliver groceries and school supplies to the 130 children, who range in age from ages 6 to 17 and reside at the home. The security forces defenders are members of the volunteer organization, "Cops for Kids."
The 376 ESFS 'adopted' the orphanage more than a year ago and have been involved in several interior and exterior enhancement projects at the home. During this visit, the volunteers delivered a plethora of provisions and school supplies to the children in preparation for the academic year.
"As soon as we get off the shuttle the kids just swarm us," said Staff Sgt. Calin Cronin, non-commissioned officer in charge of physical security. "They are so excited to see us and we enjoy coming here to work on projects and spend time with them."
Cops for Kids volunteers are involved in painting and construction projects as well as property maintenance among other tasks. "Our involvement has grown rapidly and I am impressed with the passion of our volunteers who donate so much time and energy to the orphanage. It is a strong joint effort by security forces and a credit to the entire unit," said Cronin, a native of Rochester, Ill., who is deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Kuenzli is the incoming organization treasurer and was pleased to be able to donate the supplies. "A small donation goes a long way. The school supplies are not to going to expire so the kids can utilize them next year as well," said Kuenzli, a native of Jackson, Ohio, who is deployed from Randolph AFB, Texas.
Najista Mikhaila, the Krasnaya Rechka Orphanage deputy chief, is grateful for the participation of the Transit Center airmen.
"It is good that the airmen come once a week and always bring food, it is a big help. They take time to socialize with the kids who really need the attention. Psychologically, the children require that approval and it is good for their health," she said.
"We are grateful for all of the support provided by the airmen," Mikhaila said.