552nd ACW Airmen serve community in various ways

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Woodruff
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Tinker Airmen are using their own time to give back in various ways throughout the community.

In the 552nd Air Control Network Squadron, a few individuals are volunteering their time to mold young minds and influence them to do good things.

Staff Sgt. Austin Goldstein, noncommissioned officer in charge of interoperability with Air Control Network Squadron, and Master Sgt. Kevin M. Benedict, a unit deployment manager, teach an Awana class at Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon.  They teach the 4-6 year old "Cubbies."

"We spend about three hours every Wednesday night during the school year, plus extra time for preparation," said Sergeant Benedict. "We have 24 to 30 students every week. This is my third year and Staff Sergeant Goldstein's second year."

Additionally, the sergeants taught Vacation Bible School (Wednesday nights) during the summer and sports camp (five-hour days) the second week of June, using sports as an outreach to underprivileged children from all over the state of Oklahoma.

Tech. Sgt. John D. Godfrey, a cyber transport Airman with the 552nd Air Control Network Squadron, serves as a Cyber Patriot mentor assigned to the Choctaw High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

"I got involved in the Cyber Patriot program last year and decided to become a team mentor this year to motivate my nephew-in-law to join," said Sergeant Godfrey. "It has been a very rewarding experience."

Sergeant Godfrey credits retired Chief Master Sgt. Walter Kula for being gracious enough to allow him to mentor the Choctaw AFJROTC team.

"One of the mentors in my career taught me to never just volunteer to be filling a block, but to find something you truly like to do and get involved," said Sergeant Godfrey. "Being a prior AETC instructor, I love to teach and what better way than having the ability to teach and influence our future leaders in a field I feel passionate about myself."

Cyber Patriot is an Air Force Association program to provide Cyber Education to the youth of the country. High school and middle school students compete in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition against other schools in the same category.

As a Cyber Patriot mentor, Sergeant Godfrey educates the students on how to identify and fix system vulnerabilities by working with practice computer images given to them by the Cyber Patriot program. He also uses this time with his students to mentor them on topics such as cyber security jobs and the U.S. Air Force.

Sergeant Godfrey's team is currently in the Platinum round with just two rounds remaining until they learn their placement in the National Finals in Washington, D.C. The sergeant is confident his team will be successful.