When leaders lend a hand

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Oleksandra G. Manko
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
What does a can of spam, graffiti on a school wall and a pint of blood have to do with being a good noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force?

They are all a part of a particular element that contributes to teaching leadership skills at the Airman Leadership School.

It might come as a surprise to some, but in order to be a good leader in the Air Force it is important to be a good team player and a good follower as well. After all, as far as leading by example is concerned; even individuals at the top of the supervisory chain still have to follow Air Force policies and guidelines.

One of the ways ALS handles the intricate task of teaching all these things is getting Airmen involved in community service. It is a curriculum requirement that each Airman performs three hours of community service while in ALS. However, the volunteer projects do not end there for the Nellis ALS.

"Every class gets involved in community service," said Master Sgt. Robert Brooks, Nellis ALS flight chief. "They've participated in a variety of services to include marching in a veteran's day parade, removing graffiti off the walls at Martinez Elementary school, while painting decorative murals on their playground, to name a few. In addition, the ALS students and staff have contributed an average of 140 units of blood per year to the United Blood Services, as well as, collected and donated over 2,000 canned food items to local charities."

Each class decides what it is they wish to do for a community project, either accepting one of the projects their instructors suggest or coming up with their own ideas.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be a project off base," explained Sergeant Brooks. "We had four classes in a row help complete the Nellis Airman's Center, while the current class decided to contribute their time to the ALS Heritage Hall."

Airman's Center is a recreational facility for the base Airmen that was built purely with donations and volunteer work. The ALS Heritage Hall displays decades of Nellis and enlisted history with some artifacts and historic information.

These projects are always done on the weekends or after hours.

By encouraging the students to become more involved in the community, instructors help them develop a personal sense of pride in giving, as well as an opportunity to make a difference and leave a legacy behind, said Sergeant Brooks.

"For some, this may be their first community service involvement and it may encourage them to want to serve more often," he said. "Another great benefit is the community relations that develop between the military and the public sector."