Young Airman, there’s no need to feel down; Armed Services YMCA

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody Dowell
  • Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs
Young Airman, there’s no need to feel down. I said, young Airman, pick yourself off the ground. I said, young Airman, because you’re at a new base there’s no need to be unhappy.

The Armed Service YMCA of Altus Air Force Base is a standalone non-profit organization that works with several facilities on base. Their main focus is to provide programs and services to make life easier for military members E-5 and lower and their families for little to no cost.

The ASYMCA offers a variety of services to support Airmen and their families with serval different programs.

“The most widely known thing we provide is the washer and dryer program which we give donated washers and dryers to enlisted members,” said Loran Mayes, Altus AFB ASYMCA executive director. “We also provide donated furniture to Airmen who would need it.

“The base needs programs like this because of Airmen like me,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zahir Douglas, 56th Air Refueling Squadron administrations journeyman.
“This was the first time I was living off base and I received a lot of help. Moving from the dorms to an actual house you realize you need a lot of things and the ASYMCA helped me with that.”

The ASYMCA of Altus AFB also hosts events that happen year round for Airmen and their families.

“On Thursdays, we have coffee socials for spouses and after that we have a parent and me class focusing on building relationships with others. The vans for the Airmen Against Drunk Driving are provided and maintained by us. Lastly, we host quarterly Lunch Bunches to support families.”

With the current programs helping Airmen and their families in mind, there are also future programs in line to further aid the families of the deployed members.

“We are starting two new programs. Operation Kid Comfort; a group of local quilters that are making quilts for children of deployed service members,” said Mayes. “Operation Hero, for kids to help them deal with the stress of their parents leaving and coming home from a deployment.”

Community involvement with programs like this shows how strong the bases ties with the local community are.

“It connects them with the community outside the gate and helps to build that bridge,” said Mayes. “It especially helps with the off hours, and helps to pay for things where Airmen can’t or are unable to. It’s a different lifestyle here for most, so any way to make the transition smoother we would be more than glad to help.”

Having this assistance helps more than the Airmen, it helps the bigger picture.

“Helping with basic needs or life adjustments makes everyday life smoother on a person so then they can focus on their job, which helps the squadron to accomplish the mission,” said Mayes.

The ASYMCA at Altus AFB is the only branch to be solely at an Air Force base and unlike most other branches they doesn’t have their own facility.

“Most other ASYMCA, are bigger with childcare facilities and a thrift store like shop, but we partner though the Airmen’s Attic, Freedom Community Center, the pool and things like that on base,” said Mayes. “Instead of recreating the wheel we use the facilities already provided on base that way the funding can go to the Airmen.”

With 34 branches across the country supporting 59 of this nation’s largest military installations the Armed Services YMCA aims to continue improving living conditions and quality of life for military members of Altus AFB and around this nation.

For more information about the Armed Services YMCA contact Loran Mayes at (580)318-4240.