Greetings brings ‘Lik’ home for the holidays

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Moms, Dads, brothers, sisters, extended families and close friends were told they were loved and missed here Monday and Tuesday when 221 Airmen and civilian contractor's families sent their holiday greetings home. 

An Army and Air Force Hometown News Service holiday greetings team stopped here as part of a worldwide tour to film messages from servicemembers to air on their hometown television stations during the holiday season. 

"This was a great opportunity to be able to tell my family hello and tell them how much I will miss them during the holiday season," said Master Sgt. Janice Taylor, 39th Air Base Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of military equal opportunity, who sent a holiday greeting to her family in Poplarbluff, Mo. "I have been in the Air Force for 15 years and I have missed four holiday seasons away from my family. This is the first time I was able to do a holiday greeting and it really eased my mind to know that my family would see me during the holidays." 

The three-person Holiday Greetings team of Army Staff Sgt. Scott Malone, AAFHNS broadcaster and Airmen 1st Class Alex Griffin and Shannon Ofiara, AFN Det. 7 broadcasters, along with eight volunteers from all over the base spent twenty-and-a-half hours over two days filming greetings at the Incirlik American School courtyard and the Official Documents Center. 

"It is always a pleasure to connect people with their families back in the states, especially when they are away from home for the holidays," Sergeant Malone said. "We have tremendous support from the volunteers in the community here, without their help we would not have been able to do our job." 

The Incirlik community filmed their greetings alone, with their pets and with their spouses and children. No one was turned away from being able to send their family's best wishes during the holiday season. 

"The holiday season is a really special time for family," said Tech. Sgt. Duane Matthews, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCOIC of fuels bulk storage, who sent greetings home to his family in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sommerset, N.J., and Pertersburyg, Va. "To be able to wave tell them we love them is almost like us being there during this holidays." 

His wife echoed those sentiments. 

"We have parents, sons, daughters, grandchildren and my dog Snoop, who could'nt come to Turkey with us, who we love very much," said Renee Matthews, who sent a holiday greeting back to her family in Wichita, Kan. "It will really bless their spirit as it will ours for them to see our smiling face and they can see we are safe, happy and enjoying the holidays with each other." 

The greetings team here is one of two that is visiting about 40 locations in 30 days.
"The primary goal of holiday greetings is to help boost the morale for those away from home during the holidays," said Chad Star, hometown news service chief. "One of our priorities is to cover as many deployed locations throughout the world as possible." 

The greetings will be scheduled to air some time beginning in November. TV stations will attempt to contact families to notify them of the airing. So families can watch for their loved ones on the television throughout the holiday season.