Bulldogs embody service before self

Members of the 148th Fighter Wing pose for a photo while volunteering to help Habitat for Humanity  remodel a house in Superior Wis., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.  Approximately 12 Bulldogs assisted with the construction, which ranged from extensive roof construction and new siding. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington

Members of the 148th Fighter Wing pose for a photo while volunteering to help Habitat for Humanity remodel a house in Superior Wis., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. Approximately 12 Bulldogs assisted with the construction, which ranged from extensive roof construction and new siding. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member and owner of Rymel Construction Tech. Sgt. Ryan Ostrofsky unpackages shingles alongside Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, Daryl Yankee Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 at a home in Superior Wis.  Ostrofsky coordinated the help of approximately 12 Bulldogs in reconditioning the house. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member and owner of Rymel Construction Tech. Sgt. Ryan Ostrofsky unpackages shingles alongside Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, Daryl Yankee Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 at a home in Superior Wis. Ostrofsky coordinated the help of approximately 12 Bulldogs in reconditioning the house. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member Tech. Sgt. Jon Clauson nails a strip of shingles to the roof of a home in Superior, Wis. Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 in an effort to assist Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity.  Clauson was one of approximately 12 Airmen to volunteer. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member Tech. Sgt. Jon Clauson nails a strip of shingles to the roof of a home in Superior, Wis. Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 in an effort to assist Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. Clauson was one of approximately 12 Airmen to volunteer. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member Master Sgt. Cynthia Wahl clears nails from the roof of a home in Superior, Wis. Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 in an effort to assist Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity.  “It feels good to do this work,” said Master Sgt. Cynthia Wahl, 148th Fighter Wing. “Plus, it's the right thing to do.”  (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

148th Fighter Wing member Master Sgt. Cynthia Wahl clears nails from the roof of a home in Superior, Wis. Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 in an effort to assist Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. “It feels good to do this work,” said Master Sgt. Cynthia Wahl, 148th Fighter Wing. “Plus, it's the right thing to do.” (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

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."