SaddleBrooke Troop Support Members Help Heroes

Tom Hodges

The proud members of SaddleBrooke Troop Support (STS) work hard all year providing critical support and assistance to southern Arizona military service members. November, December, and January were particularly busy and rewarding months for STS.

In November, STS members made a surprise appearance at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to present in-need, expectant military families with layettes filled with baby and new-mom items made by SaddleBrooke volunteers or purchased with STS donated funds. The opportunity to participate first-hand in distributing the layettes was both unique and rewarding.

Also in November, the Tucson International Airport Military Lounge that STS supplies reopened after a complete remodel and facelift. STS collaborates with the airport’s Transportation Authority to provide a “USO-like surrogate” lounge for active duty and retired military.

In December, STS members staffed the Tucson Marathon runners’ aid station located at Oracle Junction. It was a very busy, but fun and rewarding day for the STS volunteers. Tucson Marathon Events offered Troops and Veterans a 30% entry-fee discount.

Soldiers traveling through Tucson International Airport during the holidays were greeted by STS volunteers who helped staff complimentary snack and drink stations for the troops. This was a great opportunity to thank our heroes for their service and wish them well.

In January, STS members and special guests were honored with a tour of the Air National Guard base at Morris Air Field, adjacent to Tucson International Airport. This unique base is home to the 162nd Fighter Wing, as well as the 214th Attack Squadron who fly active-duty drone missions around the world. What an incredible experience that included lunch, courtesy of the base’s Family Readiness and Support Team.

For those not familiar with STS, it’s an all-volunteer non-profit staffed by SaddleBrooke residents that assists southern Arizona military troops in the following ways:

* Food banks, food cards, and financial assistance for vetted, in-need service members and families.

* Supply the Tucson International Airport Military Lounge. This is a “USO-like surrogate”, since there is no USO lounge at the airport.

* Baby layettes for vetted, in-need expectant military families.

* Through partnership with GoGig, INC, assist transitioning service members and spouses with locating highly-aligned civilian employment opportunities at no charge.

STS President Tom Hodges said, “Something that always strikes me is the number of people who don’t realize how little money the typical enlisted person makes, especially early in their career. And a military family with children…the spouse may not be able to work because child care is too expensive. They defend our security and protect our livelihood, but typically live paycheck-to-paycheck even with the services provided on base. An inconvenience to most civilians, such as a major car repair or broken refrigerator, can mean a short-term financial crisis for them.”

Each military base has a Family Readiness and Support Team that monitors and vets those in potential need. When required, the aforementioned STS services are there to help.

Thanks to SaddleBrooke’s Friday Quilters and Knit Wits organizations, the expectant-family baby layettes are extremely special.

Hopefully, those who have read this far are asking, “How can I help?” There are no-cost ways you can generate corporate donations to STS by simply shopping at Amazon, Basha’s, and Fry’s. You can also donate directly or join as an active member for only $25. Your “return on investment” is priceless through the satisfaction of helping those who sacrifice so much so the rest of us don’t have to.

For more information on STS’s partnerships with Amazon, Basha’s, and Fry’s, or to donate or join, please visit the saddlebrooketroopsupport.org website or send an email to [email protected]

SaddleBrooke Troop Support is an IRS-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.