ISR Airmen bring cheer to children in Italy

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of two of Beale’s geographically separated units the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 324th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron located at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy, recently took the time to raise money and put on a holiday event for a local foster home.

The event raised over 1100 Euros for the Istituto Pio IX foster home and provided the 20 children living there with new entertainment devices, as well as delivering some holiday cheer.

“The Istituto Pio IX is run by nuns and is home to children who have been taken away from their parents by the courts due to various issues such as neglect, abuse, lack of financial resources, or illegal activity,” according to Staff Sgt. LaToya Marshall, 7th RS supply technician and event coordinator.

With the help of a dozen volunteers the children had a holiday party thrown in their honor, and will now enjoy new televisions, computer tablets, and DVD players for entertainment and studying.

“It is a heartbreaking situation so I was honored to coordinate this wonderful event and give the children a little bit of happiness for Christmas,” said Marshall.

In addition to the children and foster home being helped, it offered a way to say thank you to the people of Sicily for welcoming service members into their community, Airmen were able to show that they are grateful guests in the country.

The feeling was mutual as the foster home made their appreciation for the Sigonella volunteers known.

“We received nothing but gratitude and thanks for the beautiful evening from Istituto Pio IX, and they were appreciative for us taking time out of our schedules to put on the event,” said Marshall

The event was such a success this first year that the two units are looking for this to be an annual project going forward.

“It was very heartwarming to see them laugh and forget about their family situations for an evening, which was the ultimate reward,” said Marshall.