Getting Personal: Firefighter looking for more airmen to deliver meals to elderly
Not only does Senior Airman Robert Lysholm ensure people’s safety by working as a firefighter at RAF Mildenhall, he also extends his helping hand to the elderly in the nearby town of Brandon.
Lysholm, 22, of Omaha, Neb., is the main point of contact for Mildenhall airmen volunteering in the town’s meals on wheels program, which delivers meals to those who cannot shop or cook for themselves.
He’s currently looking for more volunteers at Mildenhall and other bases to assist in the program’s efforts every Tuesday, except the first Tuesday of each month, which is set aside for Mildenhall’s fire station.
How many hours do people usually volunteer for?
It takes about two or three hours, depending if they can find the places easily. We try to get out there at a quarter ’til noon.
How many residents are on your list?
There are 17 currently … 80 to 100 years old.
Why do you think other airmen volunteer for this program?
A lot of people not only use it as a way to feel good about themselves, but it’s also an opportunity to have a great EPR (enlisted performance report), showing that you’re willing to participate and help the community. And it shows that the Air Force is trying to help their surrounding neighbors.
Are volunteers able to take back any leftovers?
Nah. [laughing]. Usually [the elderly receive] a fruit bowl, a main course and a dessert. It’s a nice three-course meal that they can enjoy while watching TV.
The airmen don’t cook the meals, do they?
Negative. It’s all pre-made. We pick up the food and deliver them to the houses.
What kind of responses do you get from the elderly when you knock on their doors?
Some are surprised to see you. Some of them are very talkative, usually smiling and enjoying the conversation because they may not get a lot of it throughout the day.
Do you have any stories to tell about delivering meals?
I think one of the most touching moments I had was when I brought a meal to a 94-year-old woman who opened the door with a big smile. She sat down and wanted me to join her, but I said I couldn’t. Then she started crying and gave me a hug. That’s when I truly felt that I’ve helped somebody.
Who can interested airmen call to be a part of this program?
They can call me at 238-2763 or e-mail me at Robert.Lysholm@mildenhall.af.mil.