BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Buckley Air Force Base was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award on behalf of the Comitis Crisis Center on Apr. 27. James Gillespie, director of development at Comitis, presented 460th Space Wing vice commander, Col. Scott Romberger, with the award on the base’s behalf.
Base personnel were cited for a collective contribution of over 350 volunteer hours in 2016, including skilled and technical labor on capital improvement projects at the shelter.
Comitis is a 139-bed homeless shelter located in the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo. open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some of the programs they offer are emergency overnight shelter, six to eight months for families and children, options for women who are re-entering society post-incarceration and up to a two-year stay for homeless veterans.
Buckley AFB personnel provided consistent support to Comitis in a constant effort to give back to the homeless community, according to Gillespie.
Volunteer support has been provided by the base for events such as the annual Grocery Cart Races at Safeway and during the holidays for the last five years, Toys for Tots.
Christina Grooms, 460th Space Wing community outreach coordinator, was cited for her consistent effort in providing both Mile High Behavioral Health Center and Comitis volunteer opportunities to base personnel.
“The Comitis Crisis Center is the only homeless shelter in Aurora, it also has temporary shelter for homeless veterans and families,” said Grooms. “I share volunteer opportunities with our installation private organizations, like Comitis, so they are aware of what is available.”
Some of the support Buckley members provided consisted of volunteering in the Comitis kitchen, assisting with the opening of the 1150 Logan Street property which houses homeless women in need of treatment services, and putting together a hygiene supplies drive resulting in the donation of over 800 goods.
The Buckley Spouses Group also made handmade fleece blankets to give to homeless children each winter.
“I would like to thank Buckley Air Force Base,” said Gillespie. “They are out in our local community, working in our soup kitchens and helping our homeless community. There are members who work on some of the most complicated career fields in the military, and then they come and do simple things like wrap presents.”
According to Gillespie, in 2016, it was recorded that there were over 47,000 homeless veterans in the United States.
“We’re really thankful,” said Gillespie. “It’s not just a military installation, it’s also a community-minded institution.”