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Community celebrates Airman's Attic reopening

Cassie Nordin (center, holding scissors) cuts a ribbon to celebrate the grand reopening of the Air Force Academy Airman's Attic in Douglass Valley Housing July 27, 2010. Also pictured are several Airman's Attic volunteers; Paula Gould, wife of Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould; Col. Rick LoCastro, 10th Air Base Wing commander; T. Thompson, Association of Graduates president and CEO; and Master Sgt. Greg Meinert, the Academy first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

Cassie Nordin (center, holding scissors) cuts a ribbon to celebrate the grand reopening of the Air Force Academy Airman's Attic in Douglass Valley Housing July 27, 2010. Also pictured are several Airman's Attic volunteers; Paula Gould, wife of Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould; Col. Rick LoCastro, 10th Air Base Wing commander; T. Thompson, Association of Graduates president and CEO; and Master Sgt. Greg Meinert, the Academy first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

Airman 1st Class Brandi Osborne searches through infant clothing at the Air Force Academy Airman's Attic during the Attic's grand reopening in Douglass Valley Housing July 27, 2010. Airman Osborne is a logistics technician with the 10th Medical Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

Airman 1st Class Brandi Osborne searches through infant clothing at the Air Force Academy Airman's Attic during the Attic's grand reopening in Douglass Valley Housing July 27, 2010. Airman Osborne is a logistics technician with the 10th Medical Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

Jaime Gaines looks through clothing for her 14-month-old daughter, Jordan, during a grand reopening ceremony for the Airman's Attic at the Air Force Academy July 27, 2010. Mrs. Gaines lives with her husband, Army Pfc. Jesse Gaines, in Douglass Valley Housing at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Private Gaines is assigned to Fort Carson. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

Jaime Gaines looks through clothing for her 14-month-old daughter, Jordan, during a grand reopening ceremony for the Airman's Attic at the Air Force Academy July 27, 2010. Mrs. Gaines lives with her husband, Army Pfc. Jesse Gaines, in Douglass Valley Housing at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Private Gaines is assigned to Fort Carson. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy community celebrated the grand reopening of the Airman's Attic at its new location in Douglass Valley Housing July 27.

Col. Rick LoCastro, commander of the 10th Air Base Wing, welcomed Airmen and families from the Academy and other local installations to "what we know is the best Airman's Attic in the Department of Defense."

Cassie Nordin, the Airman's Attic volunteer manager, cut the ribbon at the ceremony. Joining her and Colonel LoCastro were Brian Binn, president of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council; Paula Gould, wife of Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould; T. Thompson, CEO and president of the Academy's Association of Graduates; and roughly a dozen Airman's Attic volunteers. The Air Force Academy Band's Blue Steel ensemble provided music both before and after the official portion of the ceremony.

The Airman's Attic is now located on the easternmost side of the Douglass Valley Housing Area, near the intersection of East Douglass and East Ponderosa drives.

"We're bringing the Airman's Attic to where the Airmen are: in housing," Colonel LoCastro said. "You'll have family members who'll drive by the Airman's Attic every day, and the instant they walk through the door, they'll be repeat customers. You'll be amazed at what's in there."

A handful of customers shopped at the Attic immediately after the ceremony. One of those customers was Jaime Gaines, the wife of Army Pfc. Jesse Gaines.

"Most of our money goes to bills, so this helps out a lot," said Mrs. Gaines, whose 14-month-old daughter, Jordan, eagerly helped her pick out new babies' clothing. "There's more selection here than at the previous Airman's Attic. The old attic was pretty crowded."

Private Gaines is assigned to Fort Carson, but he and his family live in Douglass Valley. They're not alone: roughly 30 percent of the families who live in base housing here work at other military installations, such as Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base or Schriever AFB, Colonel LoCastro said.

"We're truly a joint family," he added. "We want to provide a sense of family to all our people who live here, not just Air Force Academy people."

The Attic is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Generally, families of servicemembers with pay grades of E-5 or lower are eligible to shop at the Airman's Attic; however, the facility opens its doors to all families, regardless of rank, the third Thursday of each month.

"There are no millionaires in the military," Colonel LoCastro said. "Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, regardless of rank."

The Redistribution Center, a Combined Federal Campaign-listed non-profit agency based in Wheat Ridge, Colo., provides supplies for the Airman's Attic. Families may receive 10 miscellaneous items and 15 pieces of babies' clothes per week and two furniture items a month. They may also take, within reason, what they need in toddler- to adult-sized clothing and uniform items, Mrs. Nordin said.

Mrs. Nordin thanked the Academy's first sergeants as well as Forest City, which provided the duplex and offered landscaping and painting services. Mrs. Nordin and her husband are preparing to leave the Academy later this summer on a permanent change of station move.

"Unfortunately, Cassie's time here is measured in hours," Colonel LoCastro said. "So shake your trees back in your offices. We need folks to volunteer as well as to use the facility. This is one facility that can't have too many volunteers.

"Let's make sure we can get our Airmen down here to make this a great Airman's Attic. We're off to a great start with this great facility," he added.

Attic volunteers can sign up to receive free child care at the Airman and Family Readiness Center for children 1 year old and older. The Family Child Care program will accept vouchers if they have space available.