By Tom Dantoni
Just about everyone in Southern California has seen the Cub Scouts standing outside grocery stores and pulling wagons to sell their fantastic popcorn. But have you ever asked yourself what happens to the bags of popcorn that they have left? The answer is more interesting than you might think. The California Inland Empire Council of Boy Scouts of America, Trails End Popcorn, and Eastvale Cub Scout Pack 2017 worked together to prepare approximately $50,000 worth of Trails End Premium popcorn so that it could be donated to the United States military. After some coordination with Ms. Karen Amos from the Airman and Family Readiness Center, they were ready.
“I think it is good that the community is always reaching out to see how they can help the members and families here at March ARB,” Said Karen Amos. “My plan for 2018 is to get out in the community more to see how we can partner together to help the members and families of March ARB”. “This is just a start to what the community has to offer and how willing they are to assist members and
their families here at March,” added Amos.
The journey began with the scouts from Pack 2017 loading several hundred cases of popcorn onto two twelve-foot scout trailers. They left early Saturday morning for their long trip to March Air Reserve Base. After clearing the security review, they setup the table and waited. Then it happened. As if on cue, the men and women of the United States Air Force started arriving at the tables. These scouts, ranging in age from five to nine years of age, began to tell the airmen about the flavors and handing them bags of free popcorn. Even the base chaplain and the security forces came by. The little guys thanked them for their service to our country and shook their hands as they left.
But it didn’t end there. Some of the scouts heard rumors of an entire company of soldiers from the United States Army who were sitting on the grass eating MRE’s for lunch just a mile away. So they packed up and went searching for them. The looks on the faces of the soldiers as the scouts tossed them popcorn was incredible. The soldiers took the time to thank the kids and answer what seemed like a million questions that a little boy might ask. Shortly thereafter, the scouts even found a couple companies of Marines with their rifles getting ready to fly out. The excitement was never ending.
To end the day, Technical Sergeant Mark Gomez of the 752nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron had arranged a very special surprise for the scouts. They had the rare opportunity to get a personal tour of the unit and to learn about aerial refueling aircraft and how important they are to many missions of the armed forces. The question and answer session was incredible, as Gomez explained how many hours of maintenance it takes to keep these aircraft flight worthy and safe for our pilots. The kids had no idea how many different missions these aircraft undertake, including refueling, medical transport, and moving cargo. They got to explore the inside of an enormous KC-135 Stratotanker and even sit in the pilot and boom operator seats. It was hard to leave without feeling tremendous respect for all that these maintenance warriors do for our country. “I want to thank TSgt Mark Gomez for orchestrating the Boys to view the static display of the K-135 Aircraft,” Said Amos.