Airmen donate time, supplies to Kyrgyz village

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 376th Expeditionary Communications Squadron here delivered a public address system and sporting equipment to the Kamyshanovka village July 1.

The squadron members became aware of the villager's need for the public address system through interactions with Mayor Marlis Kubatov, the 376th ECS honorary squadron commander.

"There was a need identified, and since electronics and communications falls under our auspices of control, we thought it would be a good first-time donation to the school," said Maj. Marcus Cooley, the 376th ECS commander. "We knew it would benefit them greatly."

The mayor had the Airmen deliver the public address system to the school, where community events are often held. The school has more than 300 students who are currently on summer break; however, several children gathered at the school to play games with the Airmen.

"I came out to play with the kids," said Tech. Sgt. Michelle Jenkins, from the 376th ECS knowledge operations section.

"I like to give back," she said. "I liked playing with the children and helping out. There is the language barrier, but when we play, it is no longer there."

After a few games of volleyball with the students, the Airmen sat down with the mayor and school officials for tea and cookies. During this time the mayor and school officials expressed their gratitude for the donation and a desire to maintain the relationship between the two groups.

"Thanks a lot for coming to visit us," said Ainura Torusheva, the school deputy. "Please come back and visit us often."

At the end of tea, Kubatov presented Cooley with a traditional Kyrgyz jacket and hat.

"You can't wear this everyday at home, but you can keep it and remember us," the mayor said. "We will miss you. You did a lot for us. We wish you good health and good luck."

The major told the officials, "You never know, I may end up back in Kyrgyzstan."

"You are always welcome here," Torusheva said.

Cooley said he believes his squadron's relationship with the village won't end when he leaves the country.

"I had a really great (year-long) tour, and I'm sure the 376th ECS will keep contributing to the growth of this village and others," he said. "These kids are the next generation of leadership."