Sabers honor MLK through reading drive
By Senior Airman Rusty Frank, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 20, 2015
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
In advance of the federal holiday, Spangdahlem's Airmen Against Drunk Driving council and the base's child development centers hosted the second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Reading is a Civil Right" reading drive Jan. 12-16.
The project involved more than 50 Airmen reading nearly 200 books to more than 100 children between the ages of 1 and 5 as part of AADD's efforts to remember King.
"Our council wanted to bring together the concepts of fostering an appreciation for reading among children and honoring the legacy of Dr. King's dream," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden, Spangdahlem's AADD president and San Antonio native. "Most people think of AADD mainly for the work we do to promote a culture of responsible choices regarding drinking and driving. We saw this drive as a great opportunity to branch out while offering our volunteers a moment to work with children."
McFadden said when he thinks of King's message, he thinks of three E's: equality, education and empowerment, which served as the focus for the children during the drive.
"This drive is themed 'Reading is a Civil Right' for a reason: the earlier our children can become familiar with reading and education, the more empowered they will be to lead a successful life," he said.
Airmen who participated in the reading drive, like Airman 1st Class Davida Sims, a 52nd Maintenance Group commander's support staff apprentice from Forrest City, Arkansas, said it provided a unique way for them to reflect on the efforts King made toward civil rights.
"It feels really good, especially to be recognizing King's achievements and knowing that this is something that happened years ago," Sims said. "It is still being talked about and is still something that we can teach young kids about today. This is just a great opportunity to volunteer for things like this."
The creation of the federal holiday in King's name started in 1983 after being signed into law by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The nation observes the holiday every third Monday in the month of January to coincide with King's birthday, Jan. 15.