NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Force Recruiting Service Airmen have found innovative ways to virtually accomplish the mission. They are also finding ways to bring virtual resiliency to their squadron and family members.
Recruiters set up a game of virtual bingo to fill the social void left in some households and bring everyone together April 24, 2020. The idea was to maintain physical distancing while bringing back the social aspects of being together.
“My wife and I were talking one morning about how to give service members a boost of morale during this COVID-19 crisis our country is now facing,” said Tech. Sgt. David Loving, a recruiter with the 332nd Recruiting Squadron. “We agreed virtual bingo would be one such outlet. My wife, who is one of the 332nd Recruiting Squadron key spouses, agreed to help host and get families involved, because many family members are stuck at home with little to do.”
After a little research, the Lovings set their plans into motion.
The 332nd RCS Booster Club agreed on providing two free meals at this year’s squadron annual awards banquet to the winner of the championship round of bingo.
One of the squadron’s recruiters, who is also a disc jockey, agreed to provide music in the short intermission between the first preliminary game and the second championship game.
“With any luck, this opportunity will spark more virtual interaction with service members and families alike and boost resiliency,” Loving said.
“Most people I talked to afterwards enjoyed giving their families something to do besides the status quo,” he added. “Some people decided to stay on the Zoom call after the games were over to socialize, which is really what this night was about. So I am very pleased with the outcome.”
The bingo event had about 20 Zoom callers with approximately 40 squadron members and their families involved.
“A lot of people said their children had fun dancing to the music during intermission, and that certain parts of the family bingo were hilarious,” Loving said. “I would be willing to do the event again especially if social distancing continues. Maybe next time I could turn it into a ‘family game night’ instead of just bingo.”
The big winner for the night was Tech. Sgt. John Goff, who won the final game.
“We had fun. It was good to see everyone involved laughing, joking and enjoying their time during this quarantine,” Goff said. “My whole family was there. I have two daughters, Emma, 10, and Addison, 7, who both took turns selecting the numbers for each game.”
Although Goff won the bingo game and the meals donated by the squadron’s booster club, he said everybody who participated and boosted their resiliency were the real winners.
“Resiliency is very important. It’s what makes us successful in the military, no matter what career field you are in,” Goff said. “You have to be able to adapt and overcome and find ways to cope with unexpected circumstances. This event brought everyone together. We had all positions of senior leadership on down to the newest recruiters. In this career field you are geographically separated from most of the squadron, so events like this allows us to come together, interact and meet new people.”