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Helping one car full at a time

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Airmen helping Airmen has become a core principle in today's Air Force. From the Wingman policies, Operation Security, driving under the influence prevention and just lending a helping hand, the Air Force is about taking care of each other.

At Osan Air Base, Airmen helping Airmen has taken the form of the First Friday program. On the first Friday night of each month, a volunteer force waits at the main gate from 12:30 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. in order to assist impaired individuals back to their residence.

"If we see someone who appears to have had a bit too much to drink, we give them a ride home, walk them to their room, and we wait until we hear the door lock," said Capt. Sandra C. Byrum, the 51st Fighter Wing sexual assault response coordinator and founder of the First Friday program.

The concept is to help individuals who may be of impaired judgment make it home without incident. The First Friday program isn't limited to helping only females, but offers assistance to anyone who's impaired in order to assist them safely home.

"This program is a lot of fun, and you get a lot of satisfaction from knowing you helped someone," said Captain Byrum. "You know that there's always a chance that you helped prevent someone making a decision they would regret, or even a crime."

The First Friday isn't a free taxi service for Team Osan members though. "We take them back to the dorms and to their room, not to the clubs, we just take them home," said Captain Byrum. The program uses a GOV from the Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Captain Byrum is also looking for more volunteers, both for the First Friday program and to work as victim advocates.  Any member of Team Osan can volunteer for the First Friday program, but only enlisted members in the rank of Technical Sgt. and above and company grade officers can volunteer to be victim advocates, and the program needs more women volunteers as well.

Anyone interested in volunteering for either program can contact Captain Byrum at DSN: 784-2832 or e-mail at Sandra.byrum@osan.af.mil.