AOG Service SpotlightNovember 2020

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.

Classmates raise funds for Cross World Africa

A team of USAFA Class of 1981 classmates — dubbed the Band of Brothers — successfully (virtually) completed the 2020 Marine Corp Marathon on Oct. 25, 2020, at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Ashburn, Virginia.

“During our four years at the Air Force Academy, from 1977 to 1981, we learned the lessons of leadership, teamwork and believing in something bigger than ourselves” says Col. (Ret.) Eric Garvin. “We put those lessons into practice as we went about to complete the 2020 MCM Challenge. This reinforces our class motto — ’81 Second to None.”

Classmates Dr. Darren McKnight and Jack Berkebile served as physical trainers, physical therapists and inspirational leaders during training.

When it came to virtual race day, McKnight and Berkebile completed the marathon in under four hours.

“Which is impressive for any 61-year-old person,” Garvin reports.

Classmate Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tim Hawes, another seasoned marathon runner, hung with Garvin to make sure the rookie finished the race.

“Despite being cold and exhausted, I finished the race thanks to my brothers who refused to forsake me,” Garvin jokes. Tim Hawes owes me because he used to beat me up all the time when he and I were boxing sparring mates in 1981, the year 4th Squadron won the Wing Boxing Championship.  

The team helped raise over $60,000 for Cross World Africa, the nonprofit for which Garvin is the Executive Director. The donations came from donors throughout the country, USAFA Alum, from Centauri Corp locally and from two employees from American Airlines. The USAFA 81 Band of Brothers was responsible for raising nearly 90% of the over $60,000 raised.  

Cross World Africa is dedicated to making hope a reality for impoverished communities across Kenya, Africa, specifically in Nairobi and the Rift Valley region. To achieve its mission of supporting community development in urban and rural Kenya, CWA focuses on building human capacity that enables individuals to be self-sustaining, so they can break the cycle of poverty.  CWA’s begins with a core belief that the only way to overcome inequality is through opportunity.  They provide the opportunity to with projects in three broad categories…entrepreneurship, education and health.

Learn about more USAFA grads serving their communities. ►




During our four years at the Air Force Academy, from 1977 to 1981, we learned the lessons of leadership, teamwork and believing in something bigger than ourselves.

— Col. (Ret.) Eric Garvin '81

The 1981 USAFA Band of Brothers team consists of (left to right) Dr. Darren McKnight, Col. (Ret.) Eric Garvin, Jack Berkebile, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tim Hawes.