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First sergeants pump random kindness

Master Sgt. Chad Hepner, 9th Medical Group first sergeant, buys fuel for Airman 1st Class Ireton Bennett, 9th Communications Squadron, as a random act of kindness May 24, 2012 at the housing shoppette, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Beale’s first sergeants purchased $2,000 in fuel for Airmen E-1 through E-5 and washed windshield during the Operation Warm Heart event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel)

Master Sgt. Chad Hepner, 9th Medical Group first sergeant, buys fuel for Airman 1st Class Ireton Bennett, 9th Communications Squadron, as a random act of kindness May 24, 2012 at the housing shoppette, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Beale’s first sergeants purchased $2,000 in fuel for Airmen E-1 through E-5 and washed windshield during the Operation Warm Heart event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel)

Master Sgt. Jason Twing, 9th 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, washes a windshield of a retired Airman May 24, 2012 at the housing shoppette, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The first sergeants gave away $2,000 in fuel to Airmen E-1 through E-5 for Operation Warm Heart as random acts of kindness, but washed the windshield of each vehicle that stopped at the pumps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel)

Master Sgt. Jason Twing, 9th 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, washes a windshield of a retired Airman May 24, 2012 at the housing shoppette, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The first sergeants gave away $2,000 in fuel to Airmen E-1 through E-5 for Operation Warm Heart as random acts of kindness, but washed the windshield of each vehicle that stopped at the pumps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Beale's first sergeants manned the fuel pumps here May 24 for two hours to give away $2,000 in free gasoline to Airmen.

This random act of kindness was part of Operation Warm Heart to help relieve the rising cost of fuel and help first sergeants show their faces across base.

"This was a great opportunity for us to relieve some of the financial stress from Airmen heading into the long weekend as the prices rise at the pumps," said Master Sgt. Chad Hepner, 9th Medical Group first sergeant. "Our job is to take care of Airmen and what better way to do that than with a random act of kindness such as this."

Although the free fuel was limited to ranks E-1 through E-5, each person who pulled up to the pumps got a greeting from one of the diamonds and their windshield washed.

"I'd be much obliged to take some free gas, this is Awesome," said Senior Airman Lucas Phlipsak, 9th Medical Operations Squadron mental health services technician, as Hepner filled his tank. "I'm pretty surprised, it's not often someone just says, 'Hey let me get that for you.'"

OWH is a program managed by the First Sergeant's Council and is geared toward helping and supporting Airmen and their families during any time of need. Every year the council organizes turkey baskets for Thanksgiving, gift drives, quarterly Hearts Apart dinners and other acts of kindness to support Airmen and their families.

The OWH program is funded through donations from individuals and organizations, including a fundraiser where the FSC bagged groceries at the commissary to raise over $1,500 dollars.

For more information and to donate to Operation Warm Heart contact First Sergeant Council representatives Master Sgt. Chad Hepner at 634-5775 or Master Sgt. Nathan Schmidt at 634-2349.