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Airmen to go on mission trip; embody service before self

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Senior Airman Jozalyn Ward, 90th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, helps build the frame for skirting around a trailer at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, Sept. 25, 2017. The 21st and 50th Space Wing’s chaplain offices have partnered to provide Airmen the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Jamaica in July. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter)

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Senior Airman Timothy Gaddy, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron security forces member, carries a sawhorse during a volunteer project at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, Sept. 26, 2017. The upcoming mission trip to Jamaica is the first one outside of the United States for the 50th and 21st Space Wing’s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter)

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Senior Airman William Nash, 50th Comptroller Squadron finance technician, stands in front of the DeKok building at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, June 6, 2019. Nash is representing the 50th Space Wing on a mission trip to Jamaica in July. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jonathan G. Whitely)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The Air Force’s core values are important for every Airman to live by, practicing service before self can be life changing which is why Airmen are encouraged to participate and engage in communities both home and abroad.

 Capt. Lauren Hughes, 50th Space Wing chaplain, said being engaged and participating in mission trips are a great opportunity for Airmen.

 “It’s a chance to serve and build faith, as well as a chance to help with specific needs such as providing clothes, building a home or feeding the hungry,” she said. “Anyone can go too, it’s not for any specific religion but for those who just have the heart to help.”

Maj. Timothy Sessions, 21st Space Wing deputy wing chaplain, said the 21st SW is going on its first mission trip outside of the United States and he is happy to partner with the 50th SW and have a Schriever Airman come on the trip.

 “If you want to broaden your view of the world, build upon your service and feel like contributing to something larger than yourself, opportunities such as this are a great catalyst to help make those things happen,” he said.

 Sessions also said he hopes more opportunities come available.

 “Everyone learns their own lessons – you take away what you put into it,” he said. “Many times, people come back from trips like this and start looking for more, whether that be contributing on base or in the local community.”

 Senior Airman William Nash, 50th Comptroller Squadron finance technician, said this is his first mission trip and is headed to Jamaica on an eight day mission trip with the 21st Space Wing chaplain’s office at the end of July.

 “On this upcoming mission trip, we’re going to construct a church, provide hospital assistance, participate in activities with the local children and host a bible study,” Nash said. “I look forward to helping those in need. I’m also excited for the personal growth and improvement that may come out of it – it’s something bigger than myself.”

 Nash said Airmen are required to raise funds to support trip costs and Airmen can go in permissive leave status if approved by leadership.

 Hughes said it is important to recognize the opportunities we have in the United States.

 “We’re very privileged to be living in the United States of America and it is a great honor to wear this uniform,” Hughes said. “So when we practice what this uniform represents, when we practice service before self, it creates a really humbling and rewarding feeling.”

 She also said mission trips and volunteer opportunities can be rewarding.

 “When you help a home get placed together with your hands, seeing the smiles on hungry children’s faces when you provide food to them, it’s one of those things which really put our first world problems into perspective,” Hughes said. “Maybe running out of gas isn’t as bad as it seems.”

 Sessions said an opportunity like this is rare.

 “I’m excited for the Airmen going, this is an awesome opportunity,” Session said. “Mission trips are a great way to reach out and help those in need. I’d encourage Airmen to get involved in the future, these trips can be life changing, and they can change your perspective on a lot.”

 Hughes said practicing service before self is something every Airman should be doing.

 “This uniform gives us great opportunities to be exposed to things that maybe we would have never been exposed to,” Hughes said. “Yes you’re able to serve, but you’re also able to develop lifelong relationships. Nothing brings people closer together than serving someone else and I’m very proud of the Airmen who go out of their way to do something bigger than themselves.”