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CFC: Process changes, outcome doesn't

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- My first involvement with the Combined Federal Campaign was in 1967. The Chief called me to his office, handed me a card and said, "Sign it." When I started to ask what it was for, he said, "Just sign it. They're going to take a dollar out of your paycheck each month and give it to some people that really need it."

At that point in my life, as an, E-2, a dollar was one percent of my monthly gross income of $100 -- and I had a family!

The Chief went on to explain that a buck wasn't much to give up each month for one person. But if everybody in the squadron gave up just one dollar, it would provide more than $400 to a worthy cause. If each member gave their fair share, we could provide a lot more.

In 1983, my commander volunteered me to be the squadron's CFC keyworker. This was to prove to me the value of positive leadership at the branch and section level. I attended each shop's morning and afternoon roll call (yup, we really had them) to make sure I made contact with each squadron member. I drew on what that wise old Chief had told me 16 years before on the value of how just a small donation from many could do for the numerous charitable organizations the CFC supports. Most shop chiefs asked what the fair share was, for their rank, in front of their people. When that happened, everyone in that shop gave their fair share. When the shop chief pulled a dollar from their wallet, that's what the people in that shop gave too.

The CFC has changed drastically over the last 40 years. Gone are the identified fair-share amounts, monetary squadron quotas and supervisory pressure. However, one thing has not changed. If everyone in our Air Force family gives up just a little, we can support some great things for people that really need our help.