Service members pay it forward

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 13:23
  • Natasha Mullins, a medical technician with the 673d Surgical Squadron, receives a gift card at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson commissary Sept. 16, 2016. Members of the Arctic Warrior Top Three were at various JBER locations handing out gift cards as part of the Pay It Forward Initiative. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON — Members of the Arctic Warrior Top Three performed their first random act of kindness through the Pay It Forward Initiative at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Sept. 16.

Junior enlisted service members and spouses of service members E-4 and below were given gift cards in various denominations as a thank-you for their service, without regard to branch designation.

The Arctic Warrior Top Three is a private organization whose members make up the top three enlisted ranks in the Air Force — master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant.

Ten Top Three volunteers in vibrant blue shirts distributed 71 gift cards at various locations on the installation – including the Exchange, AAFES gas station, commissary, and the Exchange food court, said Air Force Master Sgt. Candace Anthony, 673d Force Support Squadron military personnel section superintendent. By the end of the day, $1,350 was given.

Funding for the gift cards came in part from the JBER Chiefs’ Group and Arctic Warrior Top Three.

The idea for the Pay It Forward Initiative was inspired by a similar program from a First Sergeants’ Council at a different installation, Antony said. In practice, the initiative was a no-brainer.

“I want to look at an Airman or Soldier and say, ‘Thank you for everything you do, every day to help this base run,’” she said.

“Making somebody’s day,” was the motto of the initiative.

“I think I’ve always worked for leaders who take care of their people, and find different ways to support them in their endeavors,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Carrie Todd, 673d Air Base Wing, Judge Advocate law office superintendent. “This is a way for us to not just pay it forward, but pay it back.”

Recipients’ brows furrowed with confusion as they were handed gift cards. Some were reluctant to accept, though as the situation was explained, their skeptic looks were overtaken by smiles.

“The Pay It Forward Initiative and random acts of kindness is something that everyone should be a part of,” Todd said. “But for the Top Three as an organization I think it’s very important for us to give back to the base and give back to the community and support [our troops.]”

The purpose of the Arctic Warrior Top Three is to promote professional development, esprit de corps, and morale of all enlisted personnel while promoting professional relationships and effective communication among the joint base community, Anthony said.

Senior noncommissioned officers interested in participating in Arctic Warrior Top Three events can attend meetings the third Thursday of every month.