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Defenders fetch fur-ever homes

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Libsco, 20th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) entry controller, left, and Airman 1st Class Ashley Kokoruda, 20th SFS entry controller, play with kittens at the Camden animal humane society, Aug. 15, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Libsco, 20th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) entry controller, left, and Airman 1st Class Ashley Kokoruda, 20th SFS entry controller, play with kittens at the Camden animal humane society, Aug. 15, 2019. A flight from 20th SFS agreed they liked animals and wanted to volunteer collectively; they all met at the humane society on their day off to volunteer and help further the cause of the organization. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Christopher Nicely, 20th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, kisses a golden retriever he planned to adopt at a humane shelter in Camden, South Carolina, Aug. 15, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Christopher Nicely, 20th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, kisses a golden retriever he planned to adopt at a humane shelter in Camden, South Carolina, Aug. 15, 2019. Nicely volunteered at the shelter to make a difference in the community on his day off. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer)

Two kittens await adoption at a shelter in Camden, South Carolina, Aug. 15, 2019.

Two kittens await adoption at a shelter in Camden, South Carolina, Aug. 15, 2019. Airmen assigned to the 20th Security Forces Squadron organized and cleaned the shelter to help the workers with their event that weekend, which waived the fees on most the animals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- In the early morning, squirrels and stray cats tease fenced-in shelter dogs by running by the fence perimeter. Looking past their confined space, the dogs see friendly faces emerge from inside with piles of dog food and toys tucked under their arms.

Airman 1st Class Christopher Nicely, 20th SFS entry controller said animals have been something he has always held near and dear to him so he suggested to his flight, “A- Team flight” during guard mount duty to volunteer at a local animal shelter.

The nearly 25 Airmen assigned to the 20th SFS washed, groomed and walked pets awaiting their forever homes, as well as re-organized a shelter in Camden, South Carolina, Aug. 15.

“As a Security Forces member, we are usually working when tons of events planned on base,” said Nicely. “When I do have time off, it’s really nice to get out and bond with the community, leaving our mark before we move somewhere else so people have something to remember us by.”

Angela Focht, humane society adoption floor kennel technician, said they always need extra help and it was great to have the hands and support.

This is the first time any military members have volunteered at this location, Focht said. The Airmen did a lot more than just playing with the animals, and it made a huge difference.

Several of the Airmen present commented on how nice it was to be able to get away and participate in something they felt was making a difference. Following hours of work in the hot sun, several volunteers decided to expand their family and bring home a furry member; helping the shelter in a more profound way.

“I feel like we are providing a service to the community through the animals,” said Nicely. “We are not only helping the animals, we are helping the employees who care for the animals and can’t always get to all the animals in a day.”

The 20th SFS A-Team flight community service event allowed the defenders to unwind and spend time together outside their usual work environment.