AFCEA in Action
AFCEANs know that while they belong to an international organization, the significant influence they can have on the world often takes place at the local level. But because AFCEA International’s reach is global, the headquarters staff considers the world its local community. Less than 70 people call the headquarters (HQ) building in Fairfax, Virginia, their home away from home five days a week, but these individuals have been involved in a variety of volunteer projects over the years that have made the global village just a little bit better and feel a little smaller.
Some of the most memorable projects have involved supporting the military members serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to sending care packages, the HQ staff donated school supplies for Operation Iraqi Children (OIC), an organization created by Gary Sinise (aka Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump). Each AFCEA HQ department contributed different types of school supplies—from pencil cases to notebooks—and then everyone gathered to organize them into bags that were shipped to OIC for distribution by service members to children in Iraq.
Another project called Operation Healing Angel, part of Homefront Hugs, involved sending thank-you cards to service members and the medical staff at Walter Reed Hospital. The HQ staff lounge was as quiet as a church while people sat at tables writing heartfelt notes to wounded warriors and those caring for them.
In addition to programs for the military, HQ volunteer projects have helped make a difference in the world in other ways. Staff members donned hair nets and disposable gloves, formed six-person teams and put together 10,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now organization. “We worked so fast as a team that if we did this project again, I’d go for creating at least 15,000. I think our group could have easily done that,” Patti Johnston, who coordinated the project for AFCEA, says.
This summer, support for the community moved a bit closer to home. In June, July and August, personnel left the comfort of the HQ building to cook meals for parents staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Fairfax Hospital. From meatloaf magnificence to Mexican specialties to chicken with all the fixin’s, for one day each month, three teams brought the ingredients and whipped up meals so the house felt a little more like home.
In addition to raising funds for education, AFCEA’s chapters regularly volunteer their time, talents and treasure to various charities and humanitarian programs. Please tell others about some of the projects your chapter has been involved in recently in the Comments section so others will know how AFCEANs are truly reaching out and are making a difference around world.