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Helping CFC was life-changing experience for ‘loaned executives’

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Working as a "loaned executive" to the Combined Federal Campaign can be a life-altering experience.

"It certainly was for me," said Anthony Edrington, a production controller with the 548th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron who orders parts for the jet engine line. Mr. Edrington was one of five loaned executives from Tinker who devoted three months full-time to the CFC this year.

The others were Saunna Hinshaw and Evan Fielder, both PALACE Acquire interns, along with Staff Sgt. Valerie Wingate and Angela Oliver.

"I never knew how many charities there are in Oklahoma that care so deeply about individuals in need," Mr. Edrington said. "And these charities don't expect to be paid back anything by the people they help."

"I used to give a dollar here, two or three dollars there," said Mrs. Hinshaw, who is assigned to the 431st Supply Chain Management Squadron. "But as I went through the CFC and heard people talk about how they help families, it gave me a whole new outlook."

Loaned executives make telephone calls, meet with "keyworkers," coordinate CFC rallies and perform various other tasks to promote the campaign, Mrs. Hinshaw related.

She was deeply touched by the story about a 21-year-old man severely injured while helping a woman change a flat tire on the shoulder of a highway. A third driver slammed into the back of the man's vehicle, knocking it into the woman's car and mangling one of the Good Samaritan's legs so badly it had to be amputated.

A prosthetic leg costs approximately $20,000 "and insurance covers only one of those per lifetime," Mrs. Hinshaw said they were told. Fortunately, there's a charity that helps with such expenses.

Another charity provides free vision exams to Oklahoma school children. "Sometimes they discover children who have serious astigmatisms which could cause blindness if not corrected," Mrs. Hinshaw related. The problem wouldn't have been detected if not for the free eye exams provided by the charity.

Mr. Edrington was impressed with a charity that helps children who have been shunted from one foster home to another. The charity "takes these kids, who have been moved from one foster-care family to another, and helps them adapt to society, gives them things such as clothes and bicycles, and most importantly, gives them personal attention, which most of them have never received."

Mrs. Hinshaw mentioned a charity that helps parents who have infants and are in need of emergency services, such as diapers and formula. "Maybe the dad has lost his job and the family qualifies for public assistance from the Department of Human Services, or the WIC program. But that assistance doesn't kick in automatically, and they need help immediately. That's where the charity steps in."

Mrs. Hinshaw and Mr. Edrington both said they were moved by a charity that helps pay expenses of parents whose children are hospitalized while undergoing treatment for cancer.

"Numerous organizations are helping the community," Mr. Edrington said. "It's remarkable what they do." Being a loaned executive has "made me want to give more," he said. "I spend more time with my own kids now, because you never know what's going to happen in the next instant."

Mr. Edrington suggested that anyone having any kind of social or medical problem should dial "211" on the telephone, and they'll be connected to HeartLine, a referral, information, and crisis intervention service. "You'll receive help immediately, and it's anonymous."

The central Oklahoma Combined Federal Campaign and United Way fund drive had approximately 25 loaned executives, Mrs. Hinshaw said. Nine of them were federal employees: five from Tinker, two from the Federal Aviation Administration and two from the U.S. Postal Service. The CFC benefits approximately 2,200 charities.
Tinker's campaign had raised $1,631,086, or 84 percent of its goal, by the end of the day Tuesday, "with some money in the treasurer's office which still needs to be accounted for," Ms. Hathorn reported.