Operation Warm Heart leads random act of kindness

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Members of Operation Warm Heart, headed by the Sheppard First Sergeants Association, led a random act of kindness by giving away gift cards outside of the Sheppard AFB Commissary, September 29, 2017.

Operation Warm Heart aims to provide monetary assistance to Airmen, Air Force civilians and contractors who find themselves in a pinch. Their goal is to relieve financial stress for Airmen and recipients are never required to reimburse the organization.

“Being able to provide money in times of need really helps keep the mission on track for the base and the Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Aaron Drain, 82nd Medical Group first sergeant.

Life can be unpredictable but Operation Warm Heart stands at the ready to help individuals during emergency circumstances.

Sheppard’s First Sergeants go above and beyond by coordinating random acts of kindness to make a difference in the lives of Sheppard Airmen when they are least expecting it.

Master Sgt. Christopher Mullenax, 982nd Training Group first sergeant, notes that groceries are a necessity for all families but sometimes the cost can be daunting.

“We knew that handing out gift cards at the commissary would be a great way to help with the burden of grocery shopping,” said Drain.

Air Force first sergeants are responsible for the morale, welfare and conduct of Airmen in their units. It’s in their nature to provide for troops in any way possible.

“Our job as leaders and first sergeants is to help our people,” Drain said. “Operation Warm Heart is 100 percent goodness… Establishing and running this organization is the right thing to do.”

Sheppard’s Operation Warm Heart leaders cherish a memory when they were able to help an Airmen who was dealing with a domestic violence incident. The organization provided funding for a hotel room and food over the weekend while the incident was resolved through proper channels.

“Our efforts allowed the Airman to separate from a hostile situation,” said Master Sgt. Justin Jacobs, 80th Flying Training Wing first sergeant.

The first sergeants see Operation Warm Heart as an opportunity to help others in a direct and tangible way. Their breadth of experience in the Air Force make them the perfect ambassadors for programs that support Airmen and their families.

“All of the Sheppard AFB first sergeants love the feeling when we can look at our Airmen and tell them that we can help,” said Drain.

Operation Warm Heart frequently works in parallel with the Air Force Aid Society. Under circumstances where individuals are in need of more support than AFAS can give, Operation Warm Heart steps in to fill the void.

AFAS is often able to provide plane tickets home for Airmen who are authorized emergency leave. Operation Warm Heart can assist by providing money for food and other costs that come with traveling unexpectedly.

“When I can look at an Airman and take some burden off of them in a crisis situation, well that is something I will remember for the rest of my life and something you can hang a career on,” said Drain.

The next Operation Warm Heart event will be a fundraiser October 11, 2017, at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Wichita Falls, TX. Operation Warm Heart will receive a percentage of all meals purchased. You can also choose to donate directly to the organization at the restaurant.

None of the money raised during fundraisers is spent on overhead costs or other base functions. One hundred percent of the proceeds are given back to individual Airmen in need of assistance.