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Junior Enlisted Council Brings Fall Festivities to the 145th Airlift Wing

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  • By by. Staff Sergeant Laura Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The air is as crisp as the newly fallen leaves while a sea of smiles parade the grounds of a Fall Festival put together by the Junior Enlisted Council at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, November 2, 2019.

The first ever Fall Festival event held at the base encompassed a trunk-or-treat for military members and their families, as well as food trucks, inflatables, a cake walk, activity tables, and informational booths.

“This is the first one that we’ve planned,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Doretha McLaughlin, Junior Enlisted Council advisor, “I have a history of working Family Readiness for the Army, so I was familiar with reaching out to community resources like the U.S.O. and Blue Star Mothers, and Military One Source.”

Over Tech. Sgt. McLaughlin’s tenure as president and now advisor for the Junior Enlisted Council she has managed to assist in making some changes.

“When I came, there were probably about 10-12 people, now we average about 50 in any meeting so attendance has improved and we have official power points for our meetings; so I’m proud of increasing numbers and implementing structure,” said Tech. Sgt. McLaughlin.

The Junior Enlisted Council had help from other organizations in getting the Fall Festival put together. The Small Air Terminal and Student Flight also participated in setting up and running the event.

“I think this Fall Festival is great and it’s an opportunity to build camaraderie with fellow Airmen and get to know people,” said Zachary Mennona, student flight attendee and future Intelligence Analyst with the North Carolina Air National Guard.

Once the event started, many little ones dressed in costumes piled into the area, taking in all the attractions and even roaming from table to table collecting candy from vendors and student flight attendees.

“I’m super excited about the turn-out,” said Staff Sgt. Britney Orr, Junior Enlisted Council secretary, “This blew our expectations away. I’m happy to see the kids are having fun and happy.”

Staff Sgt. Orr’s jovial spirit passed on to every family that visited her car for trunk-or-treat.

“I enjoy being on the Junior Enlisted Council to help others and encourage their career progression also, my goal is to increase the numbers and make an impact on the senior enlisted; changing the base as a whole and having a positive attitude,” said Staff Sgt. Orr.

Soon it was time to thank supporters and announce the impending cake walk. On deck to so was Staff Sgt. Alicia Correa, newly minted president of the Junior Enlisted council.

“It’s a great learning and leadership experience; I’m enjoying that as well as learning how to manage and set-up events,” said Staff Sgt. Correa.

With all the smiles and laughter heard across the base, it’s hard to believe it was a chilly, Fall day. The success of the Fall Festival echoed to the hearts of those who put so much effort into making the event possible.

“We appreciate the support that we got, especially from student flight and small air terminal, and with pushing it out during the month while people aren’t here,” said Tech. Sgt. McLaughlin. “We hope it becomes an annual event that grows.”