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Since last year, Air Force veteran Lee Pipes has given back to his fellow veterans by volunteering at HVAF. A few weeks ago, HVAF welcomed him onto the team part-time as a Community Center Specialist. Here is a Q&A with Lee to get to know him better!
Q: How did you first get involved with HVAF?
A: I first got started in May of last year volunteering in the food pantry, and then the clothing pantry, and then I did a little work in Accounting. (I helped with) the files in Accounting, getting all of those organized. And then I came back to the clothing. And then I saw a need for every day instead of twice a week. So I put my resume in, talked to Emmy, got the interview, and here I am!
Q: What all do you do in the clothing pantry?
A: Here, we have it sorted downstairs in the basement. Everything that comes in, we sort it and size it. And then from the basement, we refill up here – all sorted and sized up here.
Q: What did you do in the military?
A: I was a Russian linguist, stationed in Germany. At the time (Vietnam War), Russia was in Czechoslovakia they had us stationed near there. I did 2 years there and then my last year was in Turkey.
Q: What does it mean to you to help out your fellow veterans?
A: Oh it’s a sense of satisfaction! Because, especially during the Vietnam era which is what I was in – veterans coming back from Vietnam, they just weren’t treated fairly. Now it’s just the satisfaction to help veterans – they’ve given their time, a lot of them their lives. It’s giving back for me, and it’s much needed. This organization is really phenomenal.
Q: Why have you liked serving HVAF?
A: I like working now because it gives me a chance to be here more often, and more hands-on. I see the need for a day-to-day (employee). I just came on board last week and I definitely like it!
Q: What is something about veterans that civilians wouldn’t know, but you wish that they knew?
A: How the service has affected them. A lot of times we think they’re homeless because they don’t want to work. A lot of times it’s the service that caused that. They give their time and everything – they sacrifice a lot! A lot of veterans can then experience addictions, and they need help coming out and a place to go. And this is what HVAF does, and I think it’s fantastic and much needed!
Q: What are some clothing items the pantry needs right now?
A: Men’s underwear & Jeans (mainly sizes 30-34 waist & length)
HVAF is always accepting donations for the food, clothing, and hygiene pantry that is open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.