Reservists give back in honor of Air Force Reserve's birthday
By Staff Sgt. Caleb Wanzer, 513th Air Control Group
/ Published April 29, 2015
Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. -- Twenty-five reservists from the 513th Air Control Group and the 507th Air Refueling Wing here started their Sunday morning early to celebrate the 67th birthday of the Air Force Reserve by volunteering for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
Master Sgt. Alphonzo Glover, an accessories flight chief with the 513th Maintenance Squadron, didn't let the fact that he just returned from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia keep him from helping out. Glover has volunteered as a course marshal eight times with the marathon since 2004.
"It's just an awesome vibe out here," he said. "It's a small way that we at Tinker can give back to the community."
For Glover, seeing all of the runners overcome obstacles to complete their goals inspires his own fitness goals.
"I just saw an eight year-old kid running a half marathon," he said. "If that's not motivation for you, I don't know what is. It kind of makes the mile and a half test seem pretty trivial."
The group met well before sunrise to prepare for the day. Takesha Williams, a budget analyst with the 507th Force Support Squadron and the organizer for the reservist volunteers, started passing out course marshal vests and flags about 5:30 a.m.
"The volunteers motivate me to come out here, their excitement and enthusiasm," she said. "I've been doing this for about a decade, sometimes we have less volunteers, sometimes we have more, but they keep me coming back."
The course marshals spread out along the route, usually two to an intersection to keep vehicles at bay and assist the runners if necessary, Williams said.
The 25 reservists covered from mile six to the middle of mile seven of the route, which included Gorilla Hill, a popular spot of the race for community members to show their support. The hill was lined with supporters dressed in banana costumes handing out pieces of fruit as well as an inflatable gorilla and a local radio station van blaring music.
Beyond all of the excitement, Williams knows that spending time helping others is an important part of being in the local community.
"I think volunteering is important, whether you're a reservist or not," she said. "It's an opportunity to give back to the community that has provided so much for us for the duration of our lifetimes. Part of the core of being a human being is volunteering."
Williams said the volunteers were proud to honor the establishment of the Air Force Reserve by helping out.
"It's just another great reason to get out and serve those around us," she said.
The Air Force Reserve was created on April 14, 1948, by President Harry S. Truman, seven months after the active-duty Air Force was established as a separate service. Now numbering around 70,000 Airmen, the reserve is involved in nearly every Air Force mission including air refueling and airborne warning and control.