Bulldogs embody service before self
By 1st Lt. Jodi L. Kiminski, 148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 05, 2012
DULUTH, Minn. -- Sounds of hammers, nail guns, power saws and laughter filled the air on a hot Saturday afternoon in Superior, Wis. as members of the 148th Fighter Wing traded in their hats and combat boots for construction belts and gloves.
"What a perfect way for members of the unit to give back to the community," said Chief Master Sgt. Mark Rukavina, 148th Fighter Wing Command Chief. "With all the support the community gives us, it's great to be able to give back and say thanks."
As sweat glistened off his forehead, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Ostrofsky securely placed shingle after shingle on the roof, knowing that the only payment for his time was the reward of knowing he was helping a family in need.
About a dozen members of the 148th Fighter Wing teamed up with Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity, a service group aimed at offering low-cost homes for families in need.
"As a military person, you are used to being part of a mission, you are used to serving," said Ostrofsky, a member of the 148th Fighter Wing. "It's about community, it's not about self. That's why I wanted to get involved and why I knew my fellow Bulldogs would be there to help."
Ostrofsky, the owner of Rymel Construction, often partners with Habitat for Humanity on projects. When he realized the size of this project and the need for additional help, he looked to his fellow Airmen for help.
"Ryan brought the idea to volunteer for the Habitat house to the Bulldog Enlisted Council meeting," said Chief Master Sgt. Gary Luke, 148th Fighter Wing. "The counsel talked about it, agreed it was something they wanted to do, and brought it to the attention of the commanders for approval."
"We are humbled and honored to be working with these Servicemembers," said Susan Marks, Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator. "Our motto is neighbors helping neighbors. I was not surprised at all to find out that members of the 148th wanted to help out."
"This community has given a lot to us," said Ostrofsky as he caught his breath. "We just wanted to be able to give back. I am so proud to be a member of such a great team."
"It is just terrific these individuals have come out to help us keep our build schedule on time." said Marks. "They are already serving their country and many of them are giving up their free time to come out and lend a hand."
"It feels good to do this work," said Master Sgt. Cynthia Wahl, 148th Fighter Wing. "Plus, it's the right thing to do."