Donated computers help Philippine youth get connected

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Satff Sgt. Jessica German (center), 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, carries a computer monitor to an awaiting trailer. More than 15 Wolf Pack members assisted with the Singapore computer donation drive. (Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kerri Fulgham)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Satff Sgt. Jessica German (center), 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, carries a computer monitor to an awaiting trailer. More than 15 Wolf Pack members assisted with the Singapore computer donation drive. (Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kerri Fulgham)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Computer processing units, monitors and other computer accesaries are packed for their trip to a shipping yard bound for the Philippines. Wolf Pack members collected more than 50 computer monitors, 15 computer processing units, five scanners and four overhead projectors. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen Collier)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Computer processing units, monitors and other computer accesaries are packed for their trip to a shipping yard bound for the Philippines. Wolf Pack members collected more than 50 computer monitors, 15 computer processing units, five scanners and four overhead projectors. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen Collier)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen from the 35th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit, deployed to Singapore in support of Operation Commando Sling, took time out of their flying schedule to launch Philippine schools into the information super highway in June.

Deployed members conducted a computer donation drive, resulting in donations from local Singapore citizens. The drive netted more than 50 computer monitors, 15 computer processing units, five scanners and four overhead projectors.

Afterward, each computer and accessory was refurbished with up to date software and were shipped to the Philippines.

First Lt. Kerri Fulgham, 35th FS project coordinator, said the donation drive was important because it took computers and electronics, otherwise earmarked for disposal, and put them in the hands of Philippine youth.

“These children had never used a computer before, so this was pretty cool,” Lt. Fulgham said. “The final moment after we got all the computers and electronics together in the warehouse, we could see the amount of goods we were sending to the Philippine kids. We definitely had a good feeling when it was all done.”

Both pilots and maintain-ers supported the donation through manual labor. Vehicles to transport the computers came from the AMU. Staff Sgt. Tracy Williams, 35th AMU, thought the community event was important because Wolf Pack members were given the opportunity to reach out to the community.

“One thing that really stood out and made not only me, but everybody else smile, is when we got our pep talk before we started working on how each computer was going to be installed in each school,” Sgt. Williams said. “I [could] just imagine the look on the kid’s faces when they receive the computers. That made my day.”

The project, coordinated through the 497th Combat Training Squadron based in Singapore, also brought together the leadership of the unit and the local Singaporean school system.

Lt. Col. Pete York, commander of the 497th, said the donation drive was a win-win situation for the United States.

“We got the chance to help those who needed our help while showing the generosity of the American people, all the while strengthening ties with an important partner in the region,” he said. ”I’m very proud the Wolf Pack stepped up for this worthy volunteer effort.”

Lt. Fulgham added everyone had a good feeling when the drive was over.

“These kids can now progress on their means of education and hopefully get a lot of good out of the computers.”