Chaplain (Maj.) David Barns, 56th Fighter Wing deputy wing chaplain, displays a check with the help of vacation bible school students inside the base chapel June 7. The check represents the $813.14 raised by VBS students to benefit tornado victims in the Oklahoma City area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz)
by Staff Sgt. NESTOR CRUZ
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/14/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club and 56th Fighter Wing Chapel staff rallied their members to gather donations for victims of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.
The Luke Air Force Base chapter of the Green Knights MMC joined forces with Airman's Attic staff to donate nearly a thousand pounds of uniforms to Airmen assigned to Tinker AFB, Okla.
"It started when Shane Buss, the Green Knights international membership representative in Texas, posted a Facebook message rallying Green Knights members to donate to Tinker Airmen affected by the tornadoes," said Master Sgt. David Addison, 607th Air Control Squadron plans and programs manager.
Addison, a Green Knights member, made a few calls that same day including one to the Airman's Attic asking for uniform donations.
"I got in touch with Katrina Garza, the Airman's Attic office manager, and she said she was delighted to help out," he said. Garza also told Addison he could take all the uniforms in their stock since they receive uniform donations daily.
The uniforms were the bulk of the Green Knights' donation, but Addison didn't stop there. He made a call to another organization.
"We also got in touch with Packages From Home, an organization that sends care packages to our deployed military members," he said.
The organization donated more than 30 packages filled with toiletries, canned goods and food.
Base chapel staff inspired parishioners to make a monetary donation to help Oklahoma citizens. A portion of the funds raised came from children attending vacation bible school June 4 to 7.
"We like to have a special mission offering every year at VBS," said Chaplain (Maj.) David Barns, 56th FW deputy wing chaplain. "This year I wanted something close to home, something the kids might have seen on the news."
Gathering donations for the residents of Oklahoma was a clear choice for VBS students, but Barns wanted to add a challenge to the activity.
"We chose to make this year's special mission offering for Oklahoma City because we wanted to explain to the kids the importance of helping our fellow man, but we also decided to have a competition between the boys and girls to make it fun for them," he said. "Every night during VBS, we placed an emphasis on why we were doing the special offering."
During a celebration party marking the end of VBS, Barns announced to children and parents that VBS students raised $813.14 in four days.
"I told the kids a story from the Bible about how God multiplies what we give," the chaplain said. "The little that each child and family gave had a huge impact when combined with the gifts of others. The amount raised was the result of each one giving with joy and with a purpose."
Luke Airmen expressed pride in what the community accomplished when they came together for a common purpose.
"It takes a community to help in any humanitarian effort," Addison said. "If we all work together toward something greater, we can accomplish miracles. What gives people hope is seeing the response from the community especially the military community."