An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Feature Search

Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Jan. 18, 2013

811th SFS supports superstorm victims

By Staff Sgt. Amber Russell 11th Wing Public Affairs

Superstorm Sandy caused billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure, buildings and homes in the Northeast. The power of this gale pushed portions of the Atlantic onto the eastern seaboard, indiscriminately destroying, anything in its path. With indiscriminate destruction, Sandy took a toll on the lives of people left in her wake.

More than 20 empathetic service members from the 811th Security Forces Squadron here decided to chip in and help families in Brick, N.J., who were hit hard by Sandy, repair their homes and hearts.

Master Sgt. Sharlene Daniels, 811 SFS flight chief, and Staff Sgts. Samantha Navarrete, 811 SFS area supervisor and Todd Maghamez SFS patrol officer, are among those Airmen who volunteered their time off work to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Navarrete reached out to organizations like FEMA, The American Red Cross and Go Ruck Challenge to coordinate efforts and give something back to people who lost so much. The three Airmen worked alongside individuals involved with Go Ruck Challenge, a cadre which conducts events patterned after Special Forces training.

The entourage of Airmen and Ruckers faced vast ruin.

"A couple of the homes we entered right by the bay, were completely devastated," said Maghamez. "We removed drywall, took up floor beams and removed debris of lost memories - it was a series of big gutting jobs."

The time, effort and resources they put in profoundly impacted the lives of people they helped; so much so, Patrick Hyland, a grateful citizen, wrote a letter of gratitude that made it to Col. William M. Knight, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander.

"Samantha, Sharlene and Todd arrived at the house on the morning of the 14th and after exchanging greetings with myself and my wife, proceeded to put in a full day of back-breaking work," stated Hyland. "Your three Airmen pulled up the entire flooring on the first floor. Their good spirits and morale made the task almost enjoyable. They hardly took a break and we had to stop them and make them eat lunch. Seeing there was no electricity or heat, it was the setting sun and ensuing darkness that finally made the work come to an end."

The Airmen helped provide ordinarily costly demolition and debris removal services in homes disparaged by the second costliest-hurricane, behind only Katrina.

"We were able to help families who were given estimates of $5,000 to $10,000 just to rip up wood and remove debris," said Navarette. "By us doing the service for free because we care, we saved them money they can put toward actual restorations."

Team cohesion is an essential aspect of the 811th SFS mission to provide selectively-cleared Security Forces who secure, protect and defend the Presidential Airlift Group, Department of Defense Special Air Missions, and United States and foreign dignitaries transiting Andrews Air Force Base and throughout the National Capital Region.

"We are a team on a day-in-day-out basis, yet this gave us a different kind of opportunity to work together," said Daniels. "We saw a different perspective of service before self. By helping others we built camaraderie. We were able to see more of a human side to each other which I believe builds a stronger team."

The Airmen who participated in the Sandy Relief efforts worked as much as they could to help citizens in need; some reported back to duty very early the following day.

"One of the Core Values of the Air Force is Service before Self," stated Hyland. "Samantha Navarrete, Sharlene Daniels and Todd Maghamez embodied that value. These Airmen Display the high-caliber of people in your Wing. Their actions are indicative that the future of the Air Force and U.S. military are in good hands."