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Launch Group supports civilian in big way

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Working in an Air Force office can be an overwhelming experience for a civilian who is not used to the rigors of the military lifestyle. However the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to order, pride in a mission and having a Wingman.

Laura Fortman, a former secretary to the 30th Launch Group Commander, experienced what it can mean to have a Wingman in a time of need. Ms. Fortman has recently moved to work at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska where upon returning from work her house caught fire. Ms. Fortman lost everything in the fire with exception to her car and the clothes on her back, said 2nd Lt. Daniel Carroll, the 30th LCG executive officer.

After hearing about the fire, the Airmen she used to work with stepped up to help her in a time of need.

"When we found out from one of Laura's friend, we just knew we had to do something to help," Lieutenant Carroll said. "So that Wednesday I drafted up an email telling what had happened, and saying that I would be taking donations to send to her on Friday."

Airmen, as they have been since the inaugural year of the Air Force in 1947, stepped up to the plate to help their former coworker and friend.

"The response was absolutely amazing," Lieutenant Carroll said. "In the two and a half day period, 46 people stepped up to donate to the cause."

Donations that turned into over $1,300 dollars to help out an Air Force family member.

"The response to the situation is a huge testament to the military lifestyle and how we really are a family," Lieutenant Carroll said. "When you lose everything $1300 isn't that big, but I am just glad we were able to help her out."

The service before self attitude is not only a talking point, but essential to the Air Force mission.

"These are highly trained individuals that maintain and operate extremely important assets, said Col. Carl Frushon, the 30th LCG commander. "Knowing there is someone there for you in a time of need makes it easier to separate yourself at work from what is going on at home and focus on the mission."

The greatest testament to the Airmen of the 30th LCG came from Ms. Fortman after receiving the check at work.

"They didn't tell about it," she said. "I had to go to a staff meeting after opening it, and I couldn't stop crying. The love and generosity that they have shown me will never be forgotten."