AFSPC says “iCan” during CFC kickoff

Keynote speaker at the CFC kick off, Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander, Air Force Space Command.

On October 5, 2009, more than 50 charities were represented during Air Force Space Command’s Combined Federal Campaign kickoff and agency fair held in the Hartinger Building. The keynote speaker at the CFC kick off, was Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander, Air Force Space Command. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lohr)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Have you ever had the feeling you're missing something in life? Do you feel as if you should be doing more to change the lives of others by helping to house the homeless, feed the hungry or have a positive impact on the environment? Have you ever felt like shouting, "iCan" make a difference?

An opportunity for some knocked Monday, Oct. 5, when more than 50 charities were represented during Air Force Space Command's Combined Federal Campaign kickoff and agency fair held in the Hartinger Building here.

More than a few people have felt like they should do something for those less fortunate, but it was that feeling of wanting to make a contribution that persuaded Dan Allgeier to volunteer to be part of this year's CFC "iCan" drive.

After spending weeks in and out of hospitals while his wife battled cancer, Mr. Allgeier was utilizing one of the CFC charity organizations when he read an e-mail soliciting help with this year's campaign.

"I volunteered [for CFC] from Brent's Place. I had my laptop there and was working while my wife was in the hospital and I saw the e-mail that came out asking for volunteers and I submitted my name," said Dan Allgeier, chief of NC2 Systems and CFC project officer. "I believe it is our duty to know the organizations that can help us when we need it most--whatever the circumstances."

Brent's Place, located in Aurora, Colo., is a safe, clean, and healthy home away from home for cancer patients and their families.

CFC offers over 3,000 opportunities to find a charity that has probably touched you or someone you know.

"Maybe some of you have been touched, or someone you know has been touched and I certainly know that brings it home and makes you more willing and interested to contributing," said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander, Air Force Space Command and this year's keynote speaker.

Nathan Lowry decided to volunteer because of his 11-year old autistic son. "Our oldest son, Jonathan, 11, is a very mild-mannered child, but three years ago to our great surprise he became aggressive at home. It wasn't in his nature to do that. 

This was very challenging for us. Neither we, nor his teachers at school understood why his behaviors were changing so rapidly. It was heartbreaking...and a nightmare." said Mr. Lowry, GeoBase program manager and CFC project officer. "It took about 3 months to find a place that could care for him during vacations and holidays. It was so important for us to find a place for my son to have a regular routine." 

The Lowry family found that comfort in Zach's Place. "I'm motivated [to volunteer] because I know how important it was for my family to have these kinds of resources in our community. We're forever grateful," said Lowry. 

Zach's Place, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a Special Kids/ Special Families organization offering Respite care for children with special needs. 

"iCan" is this year's campaign theme because both the military and federal workforce community can significantly impact the outcome of many who face tough times, real problems and agonizing circumstances, especially in today's environment.

"CFC is bigger than any one of us," said General Basla. "It's an interesting time in our country today with an above average unemployment rate, wildfires going on in California, the H1N1 virus season upon us and folks around the world experiencing natural disasters."

The CFC, now more than ever, is a critical resource for addressing global concerns and helping the non-profit community, but times are tough and needs are greater this year so their resources are rapidly depleting while they struggle to fulfill their missions and serve their communities.

According to Barbara Barfield, CFC director for the Pikes Peak Region, the dedication to charitable giving has been demonstrated over and over again with enormous generosity and record campaigns in the Pikes Peak Region.

"I go to national meetings all the time and they are absolutely astounded at what we do here in the Pikes Peak region, and it has a lot to do with what you do here in Headquarters Air Force Space Command," said Barfield.

Last year, HQ AFSPC had the highest participation percentage of 54.9 percent and earned the Regional Excellence Award for greatest increase in participation, highest average gift and highest per capita gift of all of the military installations and large federal agencies. Command contributions totaled $226,000 last year. This year's goal is set at $230,000 with a 60 percent participation rate.

This year's campaign, Oct. 5 - Nov. 16, is set to be a highly-efficient campaign and in hopes of touching the younger AFSPC personnel who may choose to operate in a virtual world, an online support-giving site at www.cfcnexus.org is being offered. 

For those not particularly keen to change, you will still be able to continue to use your hard copy forms to contribute by direct deposit or provide a one-time gift by check or cash. This is great news as contractors, foreign nationals, or other government agencies can give through the CFC in this manner.

"For those of you that are regular contributors and have been doing that for many, many years ...thank you so much. And for some of you out there who may be first-time supporters, I want to thank you in advance," concluded General Basla.