FYI, this post has nothing to do with buildings

February 01, 2011 |
Rob Cassidy

PHOTO: Left to right: Senior Airmen Charles Smith (Copperas Cove, Texas), Tom Waski (Wilmington, Del.), and Bruce Zaragosa (Converse, Texas) and Staff Sergeants Brad Larsen (Batavia, Ill.) and Warner Paredes (Washington, D.C.), at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

I’d like to share an email I got the other day.

“My name is Tom Waski,” it began. “I am an Air Force air traffic controller deployed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq. I received a ‘We Care’ package from your office a few weeks ago. I wanted to let you know how much it was appreciated.”

Senior Airman Waski said he shared the box of goodies with his crewmembers (pictured here). “It was especially nice to receive a package from a caring group of strangers,” he wrote. “It meant a lot to us. Please let everyone know that it definitely brightened our holidays.”

Waski, who recently returned home to the States after a seven-month tour of duty, described their assignment: “We are lucky enough to be stationed at a very large base in Iraq, 50 miles north of Baghdad and 40 miles south of Tikrit (which is where Saddam was from). The size of the installation provides us with relative safety and comfort, but the amount of work here is enough to make us really appreciate anything that provides a small reminder of home.

“At one time during the beginning of the war this was the second-busiest airport in the world. Things have slowed a bit and now we are just the busiest airport in the Department of Defense, and as air traffic controllers working in the tower, it is a challenge and an honor to be able to work here.”

Credit for our “We Care” program goes to our Creative Services Director, Sandi Stevenson, and her hard-working team. Some thoughts from Sandi on how you can support our military and their families:

1. Tell us what you or your employer is already doing to support our service personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere in the world where our fellow Americans are deployed. We’ll post that information on (please include photos).

2. Consider taking up the “We Care” cause in your own office. Ask your clients and suppliers to put you in touch with service personnel. (One tip from Sandi: Don’t send chocolate or other meltables. Do send puzzles, books, DVDs, etc.)

3. Come up with your own unique program. We’ll post it on our website.

The burden of the U.S. effort in Iraq and Afghanistan is being borne by less than 1% of Americans—our service personnel and their families. Let’s let them know that we care.

—Robert Cassidy, Editorial Director

Comments? Send them to: [email protected].

Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Rob Cassidy (“ClimateGrouch”) is editorial director of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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