CAFB wing commander promotes volunteerism

Col. Timothy Leahy currently serves as the 27th Special Operations Wing commander.

Editor’s Note: In recognition of National Volunteer Week (April 27-May 3), Col. Timothy Leahy, the 27th Special Operations Wing commander, offered his thoughts about the importance of volunteerism in response to a series of questions from Freedom New Mexico writer Janet Bresenham.

Q: April 27-May 3 is National Volunteer Week. How do you feel about volunteerism?

A: Volunteers are what make democracy strong. People who are willing to give their own free time to do things for others are truly living the principles upon which this nation was founded. I’m always impressed by people’s professional skills and what they do day-to-day at the workplace, but I am truly amazed at what they do as selfless volunteers.

Q: What role has volunteerism played in your own life?

A: To sum it up, my parents taught me that God gives us certain talents, but what we do with those talents determines who we are as individuals. Therefore, I’ve always looked for opportunities to use my talents as a volunteer, too.

Q: What memorable experience(s) have you had with volunteering (at any of the places you’ve lived)?

A: Let’s look at the most recent opportunity I’ve had to volunteer, which was at (last) Saturday’s event to clean up the local community (in Clovis). I told my airmen that this is our town and we should take ownership in it by participating in Clovis’ Great American Cleanup. When I showed up, I was both humbled and happy to see 252 airmen from Cannon and their families who feel the same way as I do. Even though the base is at the lowest population that it’s been in recent years, Cannon still provided the greatest number of volunteers for this single event than I think it ever has.

Q: Has your own family participated as a family unit in any volunteer service activities? What were those activities and how did your family like the experience?

A: Yes. We helped with preparing a spaghetti dinner at our church. Although this is nothing new for my wife and I to participate in such events, we really enjoyed watching our kids discover the happiness and satisfaction that results from giving to others.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for your military personnel stationed at Cannon to volunteer in the local communities of Clovis and Portales?

A: We might work on base, but Cannon airmen live in the local community. We shop in the local stores and enjoy with our families what the community has to offer. Therefore, by participating in our community, I believe it makes a tour of duty here that much more enjoyable because we can forge close friendships with others and ultimately feel a sense of belonging.

Q: You’ve been assigned as commander at Cannon since Oct. 1, 2007. What is your impression of the spirit of volunteerism in the towns surrounding the eastern New Mexico base?

A: I am very impressed by the spirit of volunteerism at both the base and the surrounding communities. (Last) Saturday’s Great American Cleanup is one of the most recent examples of how the base and the community can work together to make a positive difference for all. In addition, we’ve worked with agencies downtown to mentor students at local schools and have collected donations on base for community food drives. We have a great volunteer program on base that has formed a strong partnership with the community, and I can see it getting even better.

— Compiled by Janet Bresenham for Freedom New Mexico.