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NEWS | Sept. 18, 2009

Get yourself something nice

By Master Sgt. Timothy Reim 99th Airlift Wing first sergeant

Today marks the 62nd birthday of our great Air Force. I know what you are thinking, "What gift can I get for the world's premier air power?" How about we pool our nickels together and get something really great! A few new airplanes would be nice; or even a new gym on base; that shiny new weapons system has been staring at me for months now.

I've got a better idea: How about you give yourself a present in celebration of the official birth of our Air Force? I am not talking about a new laptop, iPod or game system. I am talking about a real gift; the gift of moving forward. This gift can take on any number of positive features. The idea is, every person will do something for themselves that moves them forward in their life; whether it is personally, professionally or spiritually. Here are just a few tips:

Sign up for school -
Log on to the Air Force Virtual Education Center, or AFVEC, via the Portal and check out the numerous opportunities your Air Force is offering to you for free. You can also make your way over to the Education Office, Bldg. 1413, and speak to a counselor to help focus your goals. Unless you have completed your master's degree, a little college couldn't hurt. If you are enrolled already or have a master's, then take one person under your wing at work and help them sign up. Accept no excuses and break down all barriers!

The Air Force was smart when they started offering 100 percent tuition assistance. To remain the world's premier air power requires innovative thinkers and people on the cutting edge of technology. You can't do that without an education. If you have reservations on going back to school, like I did, trust me in that once you get started, you won't be able to stop.

Start a savings allotment -

You can talk to anyone about money and expect to get a different opinion from them all. The bottom line is that to get out of debt and be able to stay away from credit, you need to be prepared for a rainy day. Cut your credit cards up immediately and never look back. Build your credit through timely payment of your bills. Once that party is over, log on to the myPay site via the Portal, click on "Allotments" and start a savings allotment today. If you don't have a savings account, contact your bank and get one. By going through myPay, the money will come out of your pay and be placed into your shiny new savings account automatically.

If your financial situation is secure, then take a friend at the office aside and show them how you did it. Then help them follow through with a plan. If you uncover financial issues that require some special attention, contact your first sergeant or the great people at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Both are charged with helping people through tough times. If you are afraid you may get in trouble, trust me from very personal experience, your problems are more common than you think. It is never too late to turn things around. I would not be here today if it weren't for the great supervisors of my past who got into my business at just the right time.

Stop missing PT -

Commit to going to every session your unit offers until Christmas. Your leadership will back you on this and you are not too busy or important to step away and get in a workout. Study after study shows that fit people are better employees. They are more productive, get sick less, and are generally more positive. As incentive, the new fitness program just went public last week. Check out the details via the Portal today. We are all going to need to be ready when Jan. 1, 2010 comes rolling around. Just a little insider tip, I saw the test and it is going to be on push-ups, crunches, running and a waist measurement. Practice up on those areas a little extra and you should be just fine (podium stomp).

I used the phrase "moving forward" earlier. The way I see it, if you are not moving forward with your life, you are moving backward. Let today be the day that you take the steps to get out of your rut and move forward. It doesn't have to be exactly the things I mentioned. Do something, though. If you are already moving forward, then grab a coworker and take them with you. The best presents are the thoughtful one's that people put effort into. Giving yourself the gift of moving forward this Air Force birthday will be a truly great gift Uncle Sam will cherish for years to come.