Schriever project officer personifies CFC theme

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The NCO in charge of the First Term Airmen's Center here believes in the theme for this year's Combined Federal Campaign and became an installation project officer for the second time in three years -- because the CFC came back to her in a way that changed her life. 

In Tech. Sgt. Leah Wilson's case, the benefit was priceless: time with her sister, Melissa Ludzik, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The radiation treatment she required was only available at two locations in the United States. 

Loma Linda University Medical Center in California is one of thousands of CFC participants, and it was one of those two locations. 

"Because of a place like that, she could live at least a year longer than she would have otherwise," Sergeant Wilson said. "Loma Linda gave us that time with her. I donate to them now so other families can get the same benefit." 

Ms. Ludzik died from the cancer when she was 24. Sergeant Wilson doesn't talk about her much -- she prefers to let her actions speak for her. 

"I don't want people to feel sorry for our family," she said. "We suffered a lot, but a lot of positive things will come out of it in the long run. Everyone's here for a reason." 

Sergeant Wilson has made the CFC her reason. Her goal is to have key workers contact everyone in their offices during the campaign's first week and follow up with everyone in the second and third weeks. She said she hopes to achieve the base's  goal in those first three weeks. 

"We have to make it personal," she said. "It's all about finding that personal connection that's touched us, reaching out and making people want to donate. If we make it personal -- if we illustrate that everything comes full circle -- then people will want to get involved." 

Donors may not have a story that hits them as close to home as Sergeant Wilson's. They may not benefit from their contributions today or tomorrow. But eventually, they may find they need the help that thousands of CFC organizations offer. 

"Then you'll have something available to take care of you and your family," Sergeant Wilson said. 

Sergeant Wilson is encouraging her key workers to speak out for CFC. She's suggested that volunteers speak at commander's calls, bring charity representatives to the base to talk about what they do, and get people who've personally benefited from CFC to spread their message. 

"Being a key worker isn't about handing out a book and asking people if they'd like to donate," she said. "It's about giving them a reason to donate."