Annual Combined Federal Campaign underway

Col. Christopher Stricklin, 9th Reconnaissance Wing vice commander, speaks to Airmen during a kick-off breakfast for the Combined Federal Campaign at the Coyote Grill and Pub on Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 13, 2015. The CFC is the only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in the workplace on behalf of approved charitable organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Col. Christopher Stricklin, 9th Reconnaissance Wing vice commander, speaks to Airmen during a kick-off breakfast for the Combined Federal Campaign at the Coyote Grill and Pub on Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 13, 2015. The CFC is the only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in the workplace on behalf of approved charitable organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Clarence Benjamin Jr., the Northern California Combined Federal Campaign director, poses for a photo at the Coyote Grill and Pub on Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 13, 2015. Benjamin visited Beale to promote the Combined Federal Campaign which is now underway and will finish on Dec. 15, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

Clarence Benjamin Jr., the Northern California Combined Federal Campaign director, poses for a photo at the Coyote Grill and Pub on Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 13, 2015. Benjamin visited Beale to promote the Combined Federal Campaign which is now underway and will finish on Dec. 15, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif --
The Combined Federal Campaign began for Team Beale Nov. 13, 2015, with a kick-off breakfast at the Coyote Grill and Pub.

The CFC is the only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in the workplace on behalf of approved charitable organizations. The mission of the CFC is to support and promote philanthropy through a voluntary program that is employee focused, cost-efficient and effective in providing all Federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.

Clarence Benjamin Jr., the Northern California Combined Federal Campaign director visited Beale to promote the campaign.

"It's not a matter of if you're going to need assistance down the road, but when," Benjamin said. "I always tell individuals I engage with to pray you will never need assistance from a charity, but nine times out of ten at some point in your life you will need some type of assistance."

In 1971, when Benjamin was 16 years old and a native of the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, there was a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake endured for 60 seconds.  Estimated property damage was $505 million dollars, more than 2,000 people were injured and 65 individuals lost their lives.

The tragic event altered Benjamin's life forever.

"My mother was killed during that earthquake, Feb. 9, 1971, I will never forget that day. Not only was my mother killed but my father lost his job. Because of the devastation there was no clean water, there was no food. We felt hopeless. It wasn't long before a neighbor made a phone call and soon after trucks began showing up. Charities like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and various local charities arrived and provided the assistance we desperately needed."

According to Benjamin, the events of that day had a tremendous impact on his decision to pursue the position he currently holds.

"I'll never forget the day I lost my mother and the sacrifices she made for me and my family," Clarence said. "I've always had this desire to do something to honor her, and helping these charity organizations receive funding accomplishes that."

In 2014, under Benjamin's direction, the NorCal region accumulated more than 3 million dollars in donations to various charity organizations. A few examples of charities individuals can donate are; mental health and crisis intervention, medical research, human services and animal related.

All federal employees have the option to contribute to the CFC. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 15, 2015.

"The choice to donate is our own, with most any charity we desire in the program," said Col. Christopher Stricklin, 9th Reconnaissance Wing vice commander. "The CFC provides individuals and the Air Force the opportunity to combine our collective efforts and make a substantial difference in the world."