Airman's Attic gives back to community
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Clothes hang on racks waiting to be donned while shoes sit on the shelves ready for a new pair of feet to walk in them.
Toys, cramped in boxes, wait for their new playmates to come and take them home, along with dishes, books, pottery, electronics and many other things which wait in the thrift shop for someone to grant them one more lease on life.
The Airman’s Attic is a place where people go to donate things they didn’t need anymore. It is also a place where military members can come with their families to save money and get what they need, and where young Airmen volunteer to help their local community.
On top of this, it is a place where Maria Reagan, Airman’s Attic volunteer supervisor, hopes people come and find a sense of belonging.
“We want to show support for the young Airmen and Soldiers in the [Kaiserslautern Military Community],” said Reagan. “We’re here for them, we’re here to help them … we’re here for whatever they need.”
The non-profit thrift shop is run by the KMC Top 3 organization and serves active-duty military members E-5 and below along with their families.
Although the Airman’s Attic offers household goods and other items free of charge, Reagan wants people who come to the shop to discover something more.
“We want them to feel that when they come to the Airman’s Attic that this is their home; this is a safe place,” said Reagan. “This is a place to gather, not just to come get free stuff.”
The Airman’s Attic also offers dish kits which can be lent out for 60 days. The kits include pots, pans and cooking utensils which vary in number depending on the size of the family.
The Airman’s Attic is a non-profit shop which is operated completely by volunteers.
Senior Airman Nigel Lee, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic management office member, said volunteers are indispensable to the operations of the Airman’s Attic.
“Without volunteers, we can’t even open,” said Lee who helps out regularly at the Airman’s Attic. “So that’s why I give them my spare time.”
Lee said he enjoys volunteering at the Airman’s Attic and that it is an opportunity to serve the community.
“I like volunteering here because it’s a great feeling helping out other Airmen and dependents that are in need of items,” said Lee. “I would like to see other Airmen volunteer because that’s what the Airman’s Attic is all about: receiving and giving back to others.”
Airmen do not need to devote a lot of time to volunteer; even a few minutes of their time will be a valuable contribution to the shop.
“A lot of them [Airmen who volunteer] come during their lunchbreaks,” said Reagan. “We’ll take 20 minutes, even 20 minutes of checking IDs. We’ll train them when they come.”
The volunteers at the shop do what they can to make customers feel comfortable and welcome, driven by empathy for those who are far from home.
“We’ve been there; we’ve been young wives and we know what’s like to be away from family,” said Reagan. “So we try to be more than just volunteers; we try to make this like a family atmosphere where people feel safe and want to come back.”
Reagan feels the operations of the Airman’s Attic are not only significant to the morale and welfare of the troops, but also to the KMC mission.
“It’s our way to give back to our community because we know the Airmen and Soldiers here are putting their lives on the line for the country,” said Reagan. “So this is how we feel we’re doing something for the mission, because we want you to have what you need; and if we can help you then we feel like we’ve done something.”
Whether young Airmen move to Ramstein and need things for their home, are looking to help out in their community or just simply want to save money, Reagan wants them to know they have friends and family at the Airman’s Attic standing ready to help them out.