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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2013

Airman's Attic: Paying it forward

By Master Sgt. Pamela J. Arellano 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Nowhere is that adage truer than the Langley Air Force Base Airman's Attic, located across from the base's Exchange. There, in the big brown barn, active-duty Airmen E-5 and below and their dependents can shop for free among the gently-used array of items the Airman's Attic has available, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition, the last operating day of the month is open to all enlisted ranks.

Sponsored by the Langley First Sergeants, the Airman's Attic provides appliances, linens, housewares and clothing that have been donated to the store, to enlisted Airmen and their families.

"I want everyone to know this is truly a heartfelt ministry," said Sara Andreano, Airman's Attic co-manager and volunteer. "It's a lot of gratifying hard work."

Along with five other volunteers, Andreano, who has been volunteering at the Airman's Attic for 10 years alongside her co-manager, Yamilka Kimbrell, is devoted to providing Langley Airmen and their families an easy-to-use, high-quality service.

"Everything our Airmen receive from the Attic is free, and it is a privilege to shop here," said Andreano.

"I feel good helping," echoed Kimbrell. "We provide a service for a lot of people."

To shop at the Airman's Attic, a shopper simply completes an individual family data card. Once the information is entered into the computer, the individual is ready to shop. This way, repurposed household goods can be made available to more than 1,800 families.

While the goal of the Airman's Attic is to serve Langley families, the store has some rules and limitations.

Each member is allowed to check out 12 items per month, one of which can be a large item (valued at $50 or higher). And while clothing is unlimited, that and other items may be limited based on the availability of donated items.

Fortunately, anyone can donate just about anything in good condition to the Airman's Attic.

"We're always happy to find good stuff, and we give it to them for free," said Kimbrell.

The Airman's Attic is dedicated to finding quality items. In fact, only about ten percent of the donations they receive make it to store shelves.

"We do not accept large appliances, mattresses or water beds, but we accept furniture with manager approval," said Andreano.

Always working to provide attention to families in need, the Airman's Attic assisted three families affected by a fire at the Landings at Langley at Bethel Manor in 2010, supplying them with clothing, furniture, electronics and housewares to help replace their losses. The Airman's Attic also assisted a family who moved to Langley from Hawaii in February, supplying them with winter coats.

Constantly looking for more volunteers to stock and maintain the facility, the Airman's Attic involves a lot of hard, heavy work. But the cheerful women say it's worth the labor.

"The most rewarding thing for me is working with Mrs. Andreano," said Kimbrell.

The staff of the Airman's Attic is always available to help. If they're needed after business hours, simply contact a first sergeant.

"We love what the Attic embraces, selflessly caring for others," said Andreano, "That is our reward."

For more information, contact the Airman's Attic at 764-1363.