CFC helps shape future

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Four months ago, the campaign season started.

No, not the campaign season for the 2012 presidential election, but for the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign Overseas.

This year's campaign was particularly important because it signified the campaign's 50th anniversary.

The CDC was established in the 1960s as a way to solicit donations from service members and Department of Defense employees. The campaign allows donors to contribute without being inundated with charity requests throughout the year.

During the three active campaign months, not only do CFC-O employees keep track of dozens of project managers, hundreds of gifts, certificates and awards, and millions of dollars of donations, they also prepare for the upcoming year's campaign.

The hard work and dedication doesn't stop there. The CFC-O manages donations from every U.S. installation across Europe, Africa and Central Asia. A project officer is appointed as the lead for each individual installation's campaign, and those project officers choose volunteers who give countless hours of their time to help the campaign run smoothly.

Well, I was the project officer for Spangdahlem AB this year, and I solicited help from the various groups and squadrons on base. I asked commanders to provide me at least two names of high-speed Airmen who would be able to manage their squadron's part of the campaign. I was unsure of what to expec, because I had heard stories of past representatives who didn't pull their weight during the campaign.

For me, nothing could have been further from the truth. My volunteer representatives were some of the most outstanding Airmen I have had the chance to work with. All in all, they helped raise and keep track of more than $209,000.

The volunteers proposed mass donations from squadrons to help boost participation, which turned out to be a huge success. The end result was more than 40 percent participation from Spangdahlem Airmen and DoD employees -- the most successful campaign here to date.

A portion of this year's donations will be applied to Family Support and Youth Programs, a charity specific to the CFC-O that allows 100 percent of contributions to go back to the donor's installation. This money is spent however the wing commander deems necessary to help shape the future for Sabers, their families and friends.

While some complain about CFC each year, others celebrate every October when the campaign begins. If you have not participated in the campaign in the past, I encourage you to jump at the opportunity to do so next year. It is truly rewarding to see so many give their time and energy to helping others and proving that together, we are stronger.