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News > Deployed Yokota Airmen raise funds for Japanese relief efforts
Deployed Yokota Airmen raise funds for Japanese relief efforts

Posted 3/25/2011   Updated 3/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Amn John D. Partlow
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/25/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota Air Base has been a flurry of activity since Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami March 11, but for one deployed Yokota Airman, being separated from her home station didn't stop her from helping the people of Japan.

"When the disaster hit Japan, my immediate thought was, 'What can I do to help?'" said Senior Airman Samantha Heimgartner, a Yokota airfield manager currently deployed in Southwest Asia. "If I were at my home station, I would have an opportunity to assist with clean up and rebuilding efforts all over Japan. As it was, I felt an overwhelming desire to do as much as I could from abroad."

Airman Heimgartner's desire to help drove her to take action. Working with fellow Airmen at the 405th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron, she helped develop a plan to collect monetary donations for relief efforts through the American Red Cross.

According to the United States Agency for International Development, monetary donations allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed and reduce the burden on scarce resources. Cash can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs, and ensure appropriate assistance to disaster areas.

"We completed all the necessary paperwork through the American Red Cross, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing legal office and the local finance office," Airman Heimgartner said. "Then we recruited a team of seven individuals to man a booth."

Over a four-day period of fundraising, 135 deployed Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and civilians came together to raise $6,660 for Japanese relief efforts. To Airman Heimgartner, raising these funds represents an extension to her deployed duties.

"Our day-to-day mission protects our warriors by delivering life-saving vehicles to various bases throughout Afghanistan," said Senior Airman Heimgartner. "But we went further in our life-saving efforts by providing funds necessary for relief and aid to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan."

Yokota's role in supporting Japanese relief efforts is part of a broader U.S. government effort to support Japan's request for humanitarian assistance. This effort includes coordination by the U.S. Department of State and USAID, in constant consultation with Japanese authorities and United States Pacific Command.

3/25/2011 10:44:37 PM ET
A1C Melnyczok Justyna was also a huge help in this process. I would like to personally thank all of my deployed Co-workers for all their help in making this happen.
Samantha L. Heimgartner, 405 AEGEOSS
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