552 TRS helps after wildfires
By 1Lt Kinder Blacke, 552nd Air Control Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 21, 2009
Tinker AFB, Okla. --
After recent wildfires destroyed over one hundred homes in the local and surrounding areas, Staff Sgt. John Goodson, communications technician instructor, 552nd Training Squadron, jumped at the opportunity to help those in need.
According to Tech. Sgt. Brent Karaffa, airborne radar technician instructor, 552 TRS, Sergeant Goodson organized the TRS cadre and students in an effort to aid the displaced families.
"After contacting the Red Cross and County Commissioners, he was put in touch with some low-income families in southern Cleveland County who lost everything," said Sergeant Karaffa.
On April 15, he and a group of volunteers from the 552 TRS dedicated their day to helping one of those families remove debris from what was left of their torched home, said Sergeant Karaffa. They even helped recover the remains of family pets that had been lost in the fire.
While they were working to clean up the remnants of the home, a man pulled up and informed the group that he had seen a fallen log about a mile down the road that was smoking. Sergeant Karaffa and a few others agreed to go check things out.
When they got to the log it was engulfed in flames and some of the smaller trees nearby were starting to burn, Sergeant Karaffa explained. "We immediately began shoveling dirt and mud onto the flames, as well as using water we had in the truck," he said. "We then pulled the smoldering log away from the trees and onto the road where we continued to extinguish the fire."
The group stayed until they were sure that the log and surrounding area were safe. "Had we not been there, this could have potentially developed into another large wildfire since the community only had two small volunteer fire departments to fight the fire," Sergeant Karaffa said.
Thanks to the volunteers from the 552 TRS, the fire was contained, and one family received some much-needed help. Sergeant Goodson and Sergeant Karaffa are still organizing volunteer support for both the local Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
"We plan on doing more property clearing, assisting with families salvaging items, assisting with home repairs, and aiding in the distribution of necessities for the families affected," said Sergeant Karaffa.
If you are interested in helping, please contact Staff Sgt. John Goodson, 734-4833, email@example.com.