52nd FW Airman exemplifies service before self during COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Melody W. Howley
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many uncertainties and closures due to this silent villain. Many Airmen and their families have to adjust to the new normal that came with the virus.

Thankfully, there are people willing to do whatever it takes to help their fellow wingmen and their families in these uncertain times.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Alexander Cedillo, 52nd Fighter Wing protocol specialist, exemplified service before self by going above and beyond with helping families during the pandemic.

Cedillo responded to the crisis by procuring groceries and supplies for three high-risk families and volunteered over 20 hours restocking commissary shelves to help support the base and the five surrounding geographically separated units.

“During the peak of the pandemic, I asked high-risk military members to send me lists of what they needed,” said Cedillo. “I then went to our base commissary and got whatever they needed, I basically acted as a runner for these families in need.”

Not only did Cedillo help 52nd FW Airmen and their families, but he helped arrange 12 virtual Catholic masses, reaching 600 families, and facilitated a 14-week virtual small group program for 10 families for the Archdioscese of the Military Services.

“I helped set up these masses by rehearsing the songs and readings each week,” said Cedillo. “I also helped with set up, including the lighting, communion table, and electronics to make the live feeds happen.”

Finally, Cedillo coordinated a mass mask donation to De La Salle University that included over 5,000 face shields, 360 protective suits and 75 gallons of isopropyl alcohol for 51 local hospitals in the Philippines.

“I gathered a group of friends who I know have interest in helping the community back home,” said Cedillo. “I coordinated a financial support donation to help provide essentials to hospitals back home. My friends that helped understood the hardship the Filipino people were facing during these times and were very open to helping me out.”

Master Sgt. Amanda Arguello, 52nd FW deputy chief of protocol, said Cedillo embodies the Air Force core values and is always a team player to those in need.

“I am very grateful to be working with one of the most humble and team-oriented Airmen I have ever met,” said Arguello. “He will help anyone who needs it and never seeks credit, he just looks for the next opportunity to help someone.”

Cedillo said he wanted to help out because it is something people should be willing to do during hard times.

“To me, what I did was very small,” said Cedillo. “COVID-19 is very unpredictable. I find that difficult situations like these bring out the best in people. Never underestimate small gestures of love and kindness, even the smallest act can make the greatest impact.”