552 ACNS helps vet rebuild
By Airman First Class Taj V. Preciado, 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron
/ Published May 14, 2009
Tinker AFB, Okla. --
On Saturday, May 2, thirty Airmen and civilians from the 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron spent the day repairing and renovating the home of 22-year Army veteran, Eugene Lambert.
The 552 ACNS worked with Rebuilding Together, a national non-profit organization that assists elderly and low income homeowners with maintaining a safe and healthy home. Mr. Lambert and his wife, Jane, who are both well into their 70s, were thrilled to have the help and the company.
When Mr. Lambert was first approached by Rebuilding Together he had few expectations. "I thought they'd give us a paint job," he said, "and maybe a new storm door." But the project skills captains, Staff Sgt. Joshua Carel and Staff Sgt. James Gordon, were determined to do much more than the minimum.
They identified several additional repairs that could be made to the home. In addition to the paint job, the interior received new ceiling fans, CFL light bulbs, and kitchen cabinets. The exterior was outfitted with new storm windows, a wheelchair ramp, an automatic garage door, and exterior carpet on the porch. Rebuilding Together also purchased a new washer/dryer unit and hot water heater for the Lamberts.
They were thrilled with the outcome. "There aren't enough words to express it," Mr. Lambert said. Mrs. Lambert then added, "we didn't know how big this would get."
Rebuilding Together helps thousands of people annually, but few have given as much to their community or their nation as Mr. Lambert. He enlisted in the US Army in 1948 at the age of 15 and was able to serve for several months before his true age was discovered and he was discharged.
Two years later, when he was old enough, he signed up again and shipped off to Korea. After several months in theatre, Mr. Lambert's unit was attacked and he was captured. He spent the next 18 months in a POW camp. Upon his release Mr. Lambert took an intelligence job back in the United States and served for another 19 years.
While speaking with Mr. Lambert, there was one theme he kept touching upon: he was extremely grateful towards the Airmen who volunteered time, but also the Air Force as a whole. As he put it, "I'm extremely proud to be associated with the Air Force." He wanted to tell the Tinker community that "[Tinker] is one of the cleanest and nicest bases I've ever been around."
When asked if he had any final thoughts, Mr. Lambert laughed and said, "well, from now on all of my donations are going to the Air Force."