HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Despite more than 7,000 miles and at least 10 time zones between them, the junior enlisted forces of Hurlburt Field and Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, teamed up to comfort the widows of former Airmen.
Members of Hurlburt Airman's Voice and Kunsan's Airmen Committed to Excellence signed, sealed and delivered holiday cards to the more than 60 residents at the Air Force Enlisted Village's Hawthorn House in Shalimar, Fla., Dec. 19.
"Being away from our families for so long, especially throughout the holidays, we know how important it can be to receive emotional outreach," said Senior Airman Adam Borgman, a vehicle management journeyman of 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Kunsan and ACE president. "Each resident in the village sacrificed and gave up so much so each and every one of us could have the quality of life and freedoms we do."
Borgman, serving as HAV's outreach liaison, participated in last year's card collection and Hawthorn House visit. Now stationed in Korea, he and his fellow Airmen organized card signings around Kunsan AB before sending the cards to their Air Commando counterparts for delivery.
Hurlburt Airmen collected more signatures locally, adding to the multitude of well wishes in English and Korean. Then, they finally visited every resident of the Hawthorn House, handing them the cards while wishing them a wonderful holiday season.
"It is important for us, as Airmen, to show that no matter who you are, we are here to enrich the lives of everyone around us," said Airman 1st Class Emmett Unbehagen, a cyber-system operator of 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron and current HAV outreach liaison. "On behalf of our fellow Airmen at both Hurlburt Field and Kunsan, we wanted to show our appreciation to the widows, particularly during this holiday season. I hoped that we made a difference in their day, and I believe we did."
While visiting with the residents, Senior Airman Allison LaPraim, a paralegal of 1st Special Operations Wing Staff Judge Advocate, said her favorite part was learning more about their families and how they viewed every Airman as a member of their own.
"I enjoyed the lovely lady who gave me a hug and embraced me with her whole heart -- that was very touching," LaPraim said. "It definitely moved me. I feel that every Airman should experience this."
As they left the village, the Airmen said they not only gained a deeper appreciation for the holidays and the generations of Airmen before them but for their extended Air Force family serving around the world today.
"It was a great honor to work with HAV again," Borgman said. "We thank our fellow Hurlburt Airmen for being able to walk in and hand-deliver each card with a smile and a hug. Although we are a little jealous we couldn't be there, we are glad they can for us."