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NEWS | Dec. 20, 2012

The spirit of generosity

By 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office Joint Base Langley-Eustis

The holiday season is a time of celebration when families gather and memories are made. But for members of an all-volunteer, expeditionary military deployments during the holiday season are a necessary sacrifice.

The depths of kindness from strangers can be a welcome send off, during a difficult parting.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Byron Irving, Airman 1st Class Candice Hildebrand and Senior Airman Cody Hancock, all from the 633rd Contracting Squadron, took their friend and coworker, Senior Airman Aneury Evangelista to the Norfolk Airport Dec. 17, to see him off as he left on his first deployment. After getting checked in and seeing that Evangelista's flight was delayed, the four stood by the gate, talking to pass the time.

An elderly woman with a big smile on her face and tears in her eyes approached the Airmen.

"Thank you all so much," she said, and offered to buy them dinner. The four Airmen were surprised by the woman's spontaneous generosity, thanking her with hugs and good wishes.

Afterward, the Airmen went to one of the airport restaurants, sat down to share a meal, ordering a round of appetizers to share before their friend's departure. Afterward, Evangelista asked for the bill.

"Your bill has already been taken care of, compliments of the table in the corner," the server said with a smile. "Just between us, that was only the first table to ask. Three others asked if they could do the same."

Stunned by the overwhelming generosity of strangers, the Airmen made their way to the table to thank the couple who paid for their meal.

Thanks to the kindness and good hearts of people from the community that day, Evangelista was sent on his first deployment with the sentiment of the community, "good luck over there, young man. We're proud of you and behind you all the way."