Deployed Airmen stay resilient by serving community

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashleigh Peck

When Tech. Sgt. Garrett Amorose, explosive ordnance disposal technician, got orders to deploy to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, he prepared for the deployment like any other. Little did he know, this deployment would be a little different than most.

Amorose, currently deployed with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, enjoys volunteering in the community at his home station in Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York.

“I love seeing the smiles on the students’ faces when a minute of my time gives them a lifelong memory,” said Amorose, deployed from 914th Civil Engineering Squadron.

Amorose expected he would put that on hold while deployed, until his office got a call from Tech. Sgt. Todd Borrego, 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group Airman and Family Readiness Center non-commissioned officer in charge.

Borrego, the base’s volunteer coordinator, called the EOD team to see if they were interested in volunteering at a local school event, American School of Doha’s Maker Faire. The faire is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Builder’s Day where 500 students from more than 80 countries and 10 local schools compete in robotics events and learn about robotic platforms.

The EOD team jumped at the opportunity.

The faire, now in its third year, took place on Jan. 25, 2020, and marked the first time the faire had robotics platforms and the first year AUAB’s EOD team was able to attend. Many students lined up to get hands-on experience driving EOD’s bomb defusal robots through an obstacle course where they were tasked with using a robot to grab a cone and stack it on another cone.

“We love doing events like these and do them all the time back at home station,” said Amorose. “We were happy to find out there was an opportunity while deployed to Qatar. It is an interesting change of pace from the deployments most of us are used to at forward locations. It’s a great feeling that really gives me a sense of purpose outside of my regular deployed duties.”

Although an expeditionary wing, Airmen deployed to the 379 AEW have the opportunity to use their decompression time in a volunteer capacity. For some Airmen, volunteering in the community is a way to stay resilient and ready to conduct the mission.

“We ask Airmen to take care of themselves and get after what keeps them resilient and we know that is different for each Airmen,” said Borrego. “Whether it means calling home, practicing faith, working out, or serving others, we encourage Airmen to get involved in activities that enable them to be lethal, ready and resilient.”

Some service members join the military out of a calling to serve and some look for ways to serve in more than one capacity.

In Borrego’s time in the volunteer coordinator position, he has organized and participated in 15 volunteer opportunities with local schools and organizations. This includes sporting events, school festivals and educational engagements with students.

“In this position I have seen Airmen build their resilience by establishing a connection to others as they contribute to something bigger,” said Borrego. “They interact with each other and the members of the local community and you can see the joy on their faces as they build truly remarkable relationships.”

Involvement from the service members has been well received and appears to be a win-win for the base and community. The Director of the American School of Doha, Dr. Tom Hawkins, has been most impressed with Airmen volunteering during his five years in Doha.

"I have been working in American and International Schools around the world for over three decades, and I have never seen such volunteer spirit as what I see from the Air Force and Army bases here in Doha,” said Hawkins.

The military volunteers have also helped ASD events like the Friendship Festival, sports days, competitions, and in language classrooms helping with students in French, and Spanish.

“This partnership between the professionals at AUAB and ASD promotes service, learning, and volunteering,” said Hawkins. “It makes me proud to be the Director of ASD and an American when I work with these young men and women on our campus."