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Front Range bases assist with displacement vouchers
Senior Airman Joshua Thomas reviews 1st Lt. Rachael Clark's travel voucher as part of a processing line set up for Air Force Academy base housing residents July 9, 2012. More than 600 families were evacuated from the Academy June 26-29 due to the Waldo Canyon Fire, which burned 18,000 acres of forest and 346 homes south of the base. Thomas is a finance specialist with the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base. Clark is assigned to the Academy's Economics and Geosciences Department. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)
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Front Range bases assist with displacement vouchers

Posted 7/10/2012   Updated 7/10/2012 Email story   Print story


by Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

7/10/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Airmen from the Air Force Academy, Schriever and Peterson Air Force bases and employees from Fort Carson set up a processing line at the Academy's Community Center July 9-10 to help file vouchers for Academy housing and enlisted dormitory residents who were displaced during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

More than 600 families evacuated Pine Valley and Douglass Valley housing areas here the evening of June 26, and while those living in base housing returned on June 29, some areas of Colorado Springs' Mountain Shadows subdivision still lay under evacuation orders as of Monday.

In all, 50 people from six agencies took part in the process, said Mike Beeson, chief of the 10th Force Support Squadron's Personnel Services Flight.

"This was a brilliant team effort," Beeson said. "All the folks we've helped have been stellar. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

The line incorporated separate checkpoints for military and civilian personnel. Airmen and civilian employees double checked residents' orders and vouchers, routing them to Forest City and Judge Advocate officials as needed. A handful of NCOs staffed a resolution area, where they helped iron out kinks in residents' paperwork.

The processing line helped 75 people during Monday morning's session, which started at 9 a.m. By 1 p.m., the time the afternoon session began, nearly that number had already lined up for help.

"I'm ecstatic with how well everything went (Monday morning)," Beeson said. "There are some things we can do smarter with regard to copying orders, but I think we're hitting a home run."

Staff Sgt. Michael White agreed. He's a physical therapist for the 10th Medical Group.

"It was awesome," he said. "It's really great that everyone came up here and put this together. Once I started, I got through in eight minutes."

While the venue required a different route to work for the Schriever and Peterson Airmen who helped staff the processing line, they didn't seem to mind. Senior Airman Jennifer Schneider and Airman 1st Class Chelsey Newmeier, from the 50th Force Support Squadron at Schriever, said their drive to the Academy was actually shorter than their normal commute.

While Senior Airman Joshua Thomas faced a longer-than-normal drive -- from his residence on the east side of Colorado Springs to the Academy instead of Peterson -- he didn't seem to mind.

"I'm just glad to help out," he said.

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