138th Fighter Wing volunteers give back by assisting families with seriously ill children

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jennifer Proctor
  • 138th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 138th Fighter Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard, recently volunteered at the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House.

On March 29, 10 airmen disassembled several old beds and then assembled and installed new ones at the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House. The beds are used by families with seriously ill children while those children receive medical care in Tulsa.

Before the Oklahoma Airmen installed the new beds, each room at the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House could only accommodate two people. Often, air mattresses were used to supplement families with other children and this wasn't acceptable to the house staff.

After hearing about the lack of bed space, TempurPedic stepped up and donated 22 beds to the Tulsa house. Then, it was up to the house staff and Air Guard volunteers to assemble and install them.

Master Sgt. Matt Wilson, a member of the138th Civil Engineering Squadron, was contacted by the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that he has volunteered with for more than a year and a half, and asked to help with the installation of the new beds. 

"They asked me to help and I knew that other Airmen would want to help as well," said Wilson "Guardsmen not only serve our country, but also serve our communities. It's important to give something back."

The Ronald McDonald House is an organization that gives family members with seriously ill children a place to stay that's close to the hospital where the child is being treated. The house is completely dependent upon donations and even though an occupied room actually costs $80 a night, the house only requests $10 a night from the families. If a family can't afford $10, there is no need to worry. "We never turn a family away if they can't afford it," said Mary Gregory, house manager. "We are always open; because hospitals don't close, we don't close."

The Gaddy family has been staying at the facility for more than a month since their twin girls were born prematurely. "This place has been great. I don't know what we would have done driving two hours each way, every day," said Sarah Gaddy, the twin's mother. The twin sisters have two older brothers that are ready to have their parents and baby sisters' home with them as well. The Gaddys are just one of the approximately 630 families that have stayed at the facility this past year.