Program lets local residents adopt airmen

Cannon Connections photo: Gabriel Monte Airman First Class Joshua Johnson, left, and Clovis resident Joe Hill talk during an Adopt an Airman program mixer at the Drop Zone at Cannon Air Force Base.

Gabriel Monte

Airman First Class Joshua Johnson, of Mankato, Minn., said one of the reasons he joined the Air Force was the opportunity to travel.

And in order to really know a place, you have to do more than see the sights, you have to know the people.

Johnson, who works in airfield management with the 27th Special Operations Support Squadron, said he likes outdoor activities but is willing to try new things.

Since he moved to Cannon in January, he has been spending a lot of time shoeing horses, which he learned from one of the first people he met in community.

“I wanted to get out in the community, meet new people, if you don’t try new things, you’ll never grow as a person,” he said.

And Johnson hopes to do just that with the Airman Readiness and Family Center’s Adopt an Airman program.

In the spirit of getting to know its neighbors, Cannon Air Force Base is attempting to build a personal relationship with the surrounding communities through the program.

Through the program, airmen are matched with residents and plan activities they can do together, according to program organizer Tashara Duckett.

Participants fill out a questionnaire and program facilitators match participants based on their interests, she said.

The ongoing program launched in February and, so far, 14 residents have been matched with Cannon airmen, while nine airmen still wait for adoptive families, said Duckett during the mixer, which was a holiday event for the program.

“We need to establish roots here within the community, so we see ourselves as part of the community.” said Duckett, personnel work life consultant with the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Clovis resident Joe Hill said he heard about the program in the spring time and wanted to participate as soon as he could.

Hill and Johnson were matched and met for the first time during the mixer.

Hill said he understands what airmen go through when they move from home because he felt the same way when he joined the Marine Corps more than 20 years ago.

Hill, who works at Plains Regional Medical Center, said he hasn’t made plans with Johnson since the airman would be spending Christmas in Minnesota.

But he is looking forward to planning something.

“When you move to a new location, and you don’t find support in the local area you could become homesick,” Johnson said.

To join contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 784-4228.