Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oregon's newest wing command chief takes the 'plunge' for Special Olympics, encourages others to get involved

At a recent Senior Leadership Council meeting, Brig. Gen. Bruce Prunk, the new Oregon Air Guard Commander emphasized the importance of volunteerism for our organization.

A perfect example of what he meant took place this past Saturday at Broughton Beach of the Columbia River in Portland, Ore.

Thirteen of us 142 Fighter Wing Redhawks plunged into the Columbia River on Feb. 21, in order to raise money for the Special Olympics. Our group raised over $4,700 from pledges, while the entire body of over 500 “plungers” collected more than $76,000 for this worthy cause.

The Redhawks’ efforts were spearheaded by Staff Sgt. Jarrod Johnson of the 142 Security Forces Squadron and Master Sgt. Matt Kochosky of the 142 Operations Group. They were joined in the frigid waters of the Columbia by Brandi Bell, Neil Bohne, Tech. Sgt. Jason Cohen, Master Sgt. Don Johnson, Staff Sgt. Liz McKenna, Tech. Sgt. Greg Neuleib, Maj. Frank Page, Senior Master Sgt. Chris Roper, Col. Jeffrey Silver, Staff Sgt. Stephanie Willis and myself.

My body was cold, but my heart was warm as I dove in and swam in the 45-degreee waters of the Columbia River. The camaraderie was great and the cause was most worthwhile.

I came away from the experience quite invigorated and ready to do this an annual tradition. I encourage more of my fellow airmen to participate in the Polar Plunge next year. The 142 FW already does a creditable job of reaching out to those in need. But I will be actively looking for more ways that the 142 FW can give back to our communities.

Chief Master Sgt. Max White,
142nd Fighter Wing Command Chief

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