Aaron Moore, tech sergeant with the 109th Airlift Wing of Scotia, part of the New York Air National Guard, is somewhere in the Middle East for the Fourth of July, along with his unit. His Independence Day — which is how we are able to celebrate our Independence Day– will be miles away from parades,hot dogs and barbeques.
While serving his country out in the hot sand on active duty, he was able to somehow send an arrangement of flowers to his partner, NYSUT staffer Audrey Mangini. They are red, white and blue hydrangeas, gerber daisies and snapdragons.
While he is out there defending our country and our flag, he thought to send the colors home, to the USA.
Well, Audrey has a little surprise for him, too. NYSUT staff have an organization called NYSUT Employee Outreach Network (NEON). For years, staff have been championing causes and raising money for those in need. They have sent packages to troops before. Well, this year for the Fourth of July they set up a collection to gather goodies and necessities that are being shipped to Aaron Moore, T. Sgt, and his unit. And staff showed up with supplies.
“We’ve collected energy drinks, personal hygiene items, toiletries, razors, candy, DVD’s and lots of sunscreen,” said NYSUT staffer Terese Swota, who organized the collection for NEON.
Swota, herself an animal advocate, also put out the plea for colleagues to bring in dog treats – -because Moore’s unit also volunteers at an animal shelter in the Middle East when they get time.
The mission of the 109th Airlift Wing is to “provide trained, well-equipped men and women who can augment the active force during national emergencies or war, and provide assistance during natural disasters and civil disturbances.”
They are also widely known for their trips to the Arctic region to support the National Science Foundation and for real-world training at a base they have in Greenland.
So this year, like every year, while you are at the parade or the fireworks, remember to thank a veteran, support a veteran’s organization with time or money, and let your children know that there are people out there protecting us and helping others. There are veterans who are on active duty, and there are those who saved our country during World War I and II. There are men and women who fought during Vietnam and Desert Storm and in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other sites of conflict.
Remember to put out your flag.