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Looking over communities: Airman rallies friends and family to volunteer

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erica Holbert-Siebert
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Joshua Rose's view spans 18 miles where he works in the Air Traffic Control Tower at Scott Air Force Base. The communities around the base are nestled in every direction and his job is to track the specks that appear in and out of view in the sky above. His job knowledge is extensive, and lengthy training is required to accomplish his job, but his dedication to his work doesn't stop at his job. He has a passion for giving his time to the towns he sees from 14 floors up.

Rose and his wife Alyson--high school sweethearts from Acushnet, Massachusetts--started seeing a significant need in the community after moving to Scott more than two years ago.

"Whether it was in a school, church, non-profit organization, making lunches at homeless shelters, or a pet rescue, we try to do what we can together," said Joshua Rose. "We grew up in a small town, so when we saw issues like hunger or poverty or disrepair, we thought, wow, we can really do something about this. It's been an eye-opening experience."

He seeks out causes he cares about, rather than just organizations, to fix problems he sees in the community with real influence. He also believes strongly that Airmen should want to help out of their own volition, and not to sign up just to fulfill some volunteer bullet on an enlisted performance report.

Rose said raising your hand is key, but enjoying what you sign up for is important too, and help is needed everywhere.

"You have to believe that even if you help out for a day, you're making a difference. If one person goes to help for every day of the year, then they have help all year round," said Rose. "Even if the difference is small, you've made a permanent impression on folks you've helped, and that's just as important."

He created a squadron community outreach program to gather more members to make a greater and organized impact to help where it's needed.

Master Sgt. Charles Cunningham, Rose's supervisor at the 375th Operations Support Squadron, said even as a new senior airman, he's already shown leadership capabilities far past what is expected, especially through the squadron-wide outreach program.

"He recruits not just active duty members for opportunities, but spouses and friends as well," said Cunningham. "It promotes a camaraderie and a cohesion that's superior. His proactive attitude is just contagious. It's something that reinforces the relationship we have with the outside community as a priceless commodity that we have to maintain at Scott."

The most recent opportunity Rose has found is at the Chakota Therapeutic Riding Center, a nine-horse stable that offers riding sessions to children and adults with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, autism and other disabilities. He brought a crew and volunteered multiple times to enhance the facility by building and tidying up. Evidence of their efforts can be seen in stained wood banisters and the resurfaced ground of a covered arena that riders can use when it's raining.

"I really enjoy bringing others and helping there, because you really feel like you're making a significant difference," said Rose. "Some of the work we've done there is permanent and makes it all the better for riders and their families."

Rose said he has been very fortunate in life, and believes that both karma and his military service are factors in his desire to volunteer.

"I've not had a lot of hardships in life, and I feel if we have the time and assets to help, it's our obligation to help to others that are struggling. If I was in that position, I would want someone to be there to help me," said Rose, "Besides, to be in the military is to be public servants, we fight the wars overseas, but at the same time, if we're stateside, we can't forget about how we can positively affect lives right here in our community."

He said connecting with people in the local communities while volunteering is a good way to strengthen the impact Team Scott has in the area, but that isn't the only benefit.

The thanks he gets for donating his time and rallying co-workers and friends come in small messages, such as when a child comes to him and thanks him for their lunch. The Roses have seen riders at Chakota open up and talk to the horses they're connecting with when they won't talk to anyone else.

Kay Langenhorst, Executive Director of Chakota, said, "Without the volunteers, we wouldn't be able to do what we do for the riders--they keep Chakota going."

Rose said, "You know, at the end of the day, that is why we're here volunteering--to truly make an impact."