87th APS Airmen plant trees in Delaware

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joel Mccullough
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Volunteering in the community is about more than just an enlisted performance report bullet. The Airmen of the 87th Aerial Port Squadron lead the way representing the U.S. Air Force even outside of their own communities.

The 87th APS volunteered for the Delaware Forest Service, planting trees for reforestation at the Blackbird State Forest, during their annual tour to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 17, 2022.

The 12 volunteers planted an estimated 300 seedling, contributing to the more than 2000 that were planted for the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial tree planting event. They were 12 of the 100 volunteers for the event.

“This tree planting event generated a lot of interest and positive feedback for more programming like this from Delaware citizens,” according to Kesha Braunskill, Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry coordinator, as posted on the agency website.

“Volunteers did an awesome job getting all the trees planted in under three hours.”

The 87th APS assisted and supplemented the 436th APS in their regular active-duty tasks. Even after completing long days of 12-hour shifts all week, the 12 members were able to take advantage of weekend hours to volunteer during their trip.

Master Sgt. Aaron Fisher, NCO in charge of load planning for the 87th APS, said that it’s essential that you get people out of their hotel rooms and get them involved outside of the grind of daily work.

“It was not only a nice break from the day-to-day activities and duties for people, but also a good camaraderie-building exercise,” said Fisher.

For some of the members and volunteers it was their very first annual tour, others it was their last. 

“It was a good experience for everyone, and it was a nice way to cap it off for the members on their last trip.”

Fisher explained that it is a regular occurrence that they find a volunteer opportunity during their annual tour trips for training. He also explained that Senior Airman Meggie Samuels was the one responsible for coordinating the volunteer work.

“She was the one who got it, shared it and planned it,” added Fisher.

The members showed up to the reforestation area where the Delaware Forest Service personnel had already used augers to pre-dig the holes. The volunteers then placed the seedling into the holes and recovered them with soil.

The planting project allowed the forest service to continue its goal of increasing tree canopy, as well as increasing the community’s knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of forests and forest management. Volunteers who assisted included teachers and students from various school groups, honor society students, Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops, and volunteers from Delaware’s Air Force crew, according to the DFS website.

“These planting events are great for community involvement, and everyone gets to see the fruits of their labor for years to come as they come back to see the forest they helped create,” said Braunskill.

The 87th APS frequents Dover AFB for annual tour, returning almost every year.

“Not only are we there volunteering and doing something better with our time, we are also proud to be there representing the Air Force and showing that we are grateful to be a part of the community,” Fisher said.