The AOG Service Spotlight highlights members of the Air Force Academy family (grads, cadets, family and friends of the Academy) every month who perform outstanding service that makes a positive and meaningful impact in their communities and beyond. Let these inspiring stories foster a spirit of service within the Air Force Academy family and inspire further commitment to a lifetime of service.
Service Before Self Challenge Participants
In January 2020 we initiated the Service Before Self Challenge, urging members of the USAFA family to donate at least 65 minutes of their time toward community service. Incredibly we shattered our initial goals in the very first month, so we raised the bar and our USAFA family responded with more than 488,000 total service minutes donated throughout the challenge.
For our service spotlight this month, we are honoring all the challenge participants and sharing more of their inspiring stories.
- Peter Axelson | Class of 1978
As a wheelchair user, designer, and engineer, he helped draft important information regarding COVID-19 precautions to be taken by wheelchair users that was translated into Japanese, French and other languages as well as published on the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s website. He broke his back at the Air Force Academy in a training accident in 1975.
- Diann Boyle | Class of 1983
17 days volunteering 6 hours per day with the Siyafunda Endangered Species Project and Wildlife Conservation research at Makalali Game Reserve in South Africa. Her team monitored and collected data on “the Big 5” animals and other endangered species subject to poaching, so that researchers and wildlife conservation organizations can use the data to protect the future of these animals. See siyafundaconservation.com.
- Kary LaFors | Class of 1965
For 23 Mondays since 10 Jan 2020, he coordinated the distribution of fresh produce from Philabundance to up to 8 food pantries in Montgomery County, PA. His team then distributed the produce for one of the pantries to three pre-schools. However, since the pandemic they deliver the produce for the one pantry to up to five local collection centers.
- Josie Kostyra Quiroz | Class of 1988
Josie volunteers at the Florida Wildlife Hospital where she helps with the operations of the hospital and taking care of the animals. In June 2020, Josie released an Osprey in Merritt Island, FL. Josie stated, “Brought to the FL Wildlife Hospital (FWH) by the Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement while in distress. After a night of rest he was more than ready to go back with his friends. FWH...Keeping Wildlife Wild.”
- Tracey Meck | Class of 1987
In May 2020, Tracey volunteered at the St Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, AZ working alongside the Army National Guard.
- Mike Worden | Class of 1976
Since family is under “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” rules, he used his son-in-law’s computerized router in his home garage to make face shields for local hospitals and first responders in rural Washington State. He ordered raw materials online, manufactured, assembled, donated and delivered 1000 face shields to 10 central Washington hospitals and numerous first responder organizations in first week. More orders are coming in from region. Family, neighbors and off-duty nurses continue to provide labor (while being masked up and following safe separation rules). The photo shows the district Fire Chief receiving 150 face-shields.
- Bruce Anapol | Parent of 2019 Grad
In February 2020, Bruce worked with an organization called My Brother Vinny, delivering furniture and housewares to a previously homeless Army veteran who had been moved into an apartment by the Bronx, NY VA.
- Chuck Ryerson | Class of 1965
Chuck has been helping establish (from an empty room) the Hobby Shop for his CCRC community as the volunteer committee chairman.
- Richard Eilers | Class of 1973
Archaeological lab volunteer at the Archaeological Society of Virginia and Fairfax County Parks and Rec archaeology branch.
- Rodney Stubbs | Class of 1968
Engineers Without Borders, Kenya Water Project
- And so many more. Thank you to everyone putting service before self and giving back to your community!
I really just want to take time to reflect on all those minutes that were donated and all the good that has been given to our communities during this time, and how it has inspired others to continue and have a lifetime of service.
— Karina Ross, AOG Director of Constituent Relations