Airman helps neighbors during severe ice storm

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Myles Stepp
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
More than 1.5 inches of ice blanketed the Altus area Jan. 28 transforming the surrounding area into an awe-inspiring spectacle, which left more than 30,000 residents without power for several days. When adversity knocked on the door, a selfless Airman rose to the occasion to help neighbors in need.

Staff Sgt. Wesley Parker, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, realized two days into the ice storm that his elderly neighbors needed help. Richard Banker and his wheelchair-bound wife were without heat and electricity and had no means of fending for themselves.

"I've got my own struggles to deal with but when I found out that my neighbor was in worse condition than what I was in, even though I didn't know them very well I still stepped up and helped out," said Sergeant Parker.

After Sergeant Parker relocated his family to Chillicothe, Texas, he stopped by the Bankers' residence two to three times per day to provide necessities such as batteries, propane and hot meals. As an outdoor enthusiast, Sergeant Parker was also able to provide camping equipment to include sleeping bags and lanterns. He also removed fallen debris and tree limbs from the neighbor's property.

"He helped us out a lot and deserves a humanitarian award and a day off with pay," said Mr. Banker.

Before work, Sergeant Parker would drive off base to help the Banker family then drive back on base to go to work.

Sergeant Parker's actions exemplified the Air Force's core value "Service Before Self" and serves as a constant reminder of the level of professionalism found in the Air Force.

Sergeant Parker said, "I was just doing what anybody should have done and if you see somebody that needs help, help them. I was just being a neighbor."