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Local community provides “Home Away From Home” for Team Goodfellow

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

San Angelo’s Lone Elk Lodge hosted its fifth annual Home Away From Home event at the First Financial Pavilion on Dec. 25.

Every year the Elks provide military members a “home away from home” to eat, socialize, and receive gifts. Due to COVID-19, hundreds of members could not travel home, and San Angelo rose to the occasion to host them all. 

Col. James Finlayson, 17th Training Wing vice commander, Col. Tony England, 17th Mission Support Group commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Casy Boomershine, 17th Training Wing command chief, all attended the event, interacted with military personnel, and wished them a happy holiday.

“I think you’ll find that if you make the military a career, there will be more than a couple of holidays you may not be at home. In fact, ten years ago today, I was in Afghanistan for my Christmas, and it was one of my best because we all took our care packages and sat around and told stories,” said Finlayson. “I will tell you that if you stay in the Air Force for a while, you’re going to go to a lot of places, and you’ll most likely come back to San Angelo as a firefighter or intelligence professional. But one thing you won’t find anywhere else in the world is a better civil-military relationship than you’ll find here in the city of San Angelo.”

In a combined effort between donations from the city and funding from the Elks, hundreds of presents were bought alongside a mountain of food, drink, and desserts. 

Members were greeted at the door, their temperatures were taken, and they were handed a raffle ticket to receive their gifts. There was a wide range of gifts, from weighted blankets and sleep masks to speakers and drones.

The city provided free transportation from the base to the event to ensure that every student interested could attend. 

Extra food and gifts were given to first responders and military members who were quarantined or couldn’t make it because of their jobs.