Dover base group gives fresh look to Shepherd Place

Students from the Staff Sgt. Julio Alonso Airman Leadership School class 15-F dig up old bushes and shrubs during a class volunteer project July 25 at the Shepherd Place in Dover. The Shepherd Place is a nonprofit organization that provides relief aid to homeless women and children.  (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

Students from the Staff Sgt. Julio Alonso Airman Leadership School class 15-F dig up old bushes and shrubs during a class volunteer project July 25 at the Shepherd Place in Dover. The Shepherd Place is a nonprofit organization that provides relief aid to homeless women and children. (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE — It is not often that volunteer opportunities lead to a change that is both longstanding and noticeable at first sight. But current Airman Leadership School students made a significant impact to one local organization that will not soon be forgotten.

Senior Airman Julian Brown, Airman Leadership School student, paints a wall inside of the Shepherd Place. The class project included painting the interior of the facility and the rooms that residents live in.

Senior Airman Julian Brown, Airman Leadership School student, paints a wall inside of the Shepherd Place. The class project included painting the interior of the facility and the rooms that residents live in.

As part of their class project, 26 students from the Staff Sgt. Julio Alonso ALS class 15-F gave the Shepherd Place in Dover a much needed facelift. Students dug up existing shrubs and bushes around the facility and planted new flowers and plants, giving the exterior a refreshing new look.

The hardware, tools and plants needed for the project were all donated by Lowe’s. The Lowe’s Hero project donated $2,500 for the ALS class to use to buy all the necessary equipment needed for the day.

Sunny Schmidt, Shepherd Place shelter manager, said the improvements the students made came at an opportune time.

“They are giving us a fresh look for our 25th anniversary celebration,” said Ms. Schmidt. “It means a lot to me for them to come out into the community and support a shelter and help get these women and children back on their feet.”

The Shepherd Place is an emergency shelter for women and children and provides their residents with relief during dire economic circumstances or homelessness. The shelter became operational in January 1990 and reduces the degree of homelessness in Kent County and in the state of Delaware.

Senior Airman Dominick Lignelli, ALS student, volunteered to be the leader of the class project. At the time, he was not given any specifics about what the project would entail. Senior Airman Lignelli was only given one week to plan, organize and execute the assignment.

Senior Airman Lignelli said he and his wife have worked with the Shepherd Place in the past and thought the shelter’s goal matched that of his class.

“They do a lot for the community and get a lot of people back on their feet,” said Senior Airman Lignelli. “They get a ton of people through there with a goal of trying to make them better people. So it made sense to work with the Shepherd Place because they share the same mission as ALS, make better people.”

Senior Airman Jon Geiger, left, and Senior Airman Tony Calvillo, Airman Leadership School students, assemble a bicycle during a class volunteer project. The students assembled 20 donated bicycles for children residing in the shelter to use.

Senior Airman Jon Geiger, left, and Senior Airman Tony Calvillo, Airman Leadership School students, assemble a bicycle during a class volunteer project. The students assembled 20 donated bicycles for children residing in the shelter to use.

Master Sgt. Jason Barnshaw, ALS commandant, said each class is tasked with coming up with a volunteer project and when it came to class 15-F’s project, it exceeded his expectation.

“We always tell the airmen to come up with something different, something that will really impact the community,” said Master Sgt. Barnshaw. “This project really took on a life of its own and really grew, and it’s all thanks to the airmen.”

Aside from the new landscaping, the class also assembled 20 donated bicycles for children and painted numerous walls throughout the shelter. They also provided the Shepherd Place with a retired U.S. flag from Dover, AFB to fly on their own flag pole.

Master Sgt. Barnshaw said the project was a huge success and echoes the leadership qualities needed in future Air Force non-commissioned officers.

“This project shows the type of airmen we have coming through our Airman Leadership School,” said Master Sgt. Barnshaw. “This coincides with exactly what we want in our future leaders, I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”

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