39 ABW volunteers team with U.S. Consulate Adana to support Ukrainian refugees in Turkiye

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Capt. Gerald Peden
  • 39th Air Base Wing
In February 2022, the world received news that Ukraine was invaded by Russia, leading to millions of refugees seeking asylum in neighboring countries such as Turkiye and various humanitarian responses.

In collaboration with the U.S. Consulate Adana, the 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office organized a donation drive with the assistance of volunteers from the wing's Airmen's Attic to enhance local community relations. The volunteers provided over 100 clothing items to the Ukrainian Association Adana for distribution to refugees throughout Turkiye and abroad. Heavier weighted items, such as jackets and sweaters, are scheduled to be sent to Ukraine for support throughout the winter season.

Master Sgt. Jamel Thornton, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron operations and compliance flight superintendent, participated in the donation drive and said he was grateful to provide support for the refugees through the steady stream of donations consistently provided to the Airmen's Attic.

"It is always fulfilling to provide aid for a good cause, but to hear firsthand knowledge on who and how the aid will be used is special,” said Thornton. “Especially knowing that the clothing will go to members displaced by the war in Ukraine."

In the eastern region of Turkiye, Ukrainian Association Adana supported emergency evacuation measures including shelter and supply management activities that supported over 2,500 refugees since February 2022.

The purpose of the association is to provide Ukrainian cultural education and events for the Adana community to build local ties and understanding. Throughout the year, assistance to the association has come from the local Turkish community, leading to supplies from across the country being sent back to Ukraine. Local volunteers support the office and organizational programs.

"This project is important because we are directly supporting a group of people that literally had to pick up and leave with only the clothes on their backs," said Thornton. "I cannot imagine how that had to feel – the uncertainty and fear. They desperately need our support, and we are in a position to assist."

This donation drive is one of many initiatives the 39th ABW has accomplished in coordination with U.S. Mission Turkiye to enhance community relations and promote security and stability within the region. 39th ABW Public Affairs team leads the wing's community relations program with the intent of strengthening the partnership between the wing's NATO allies, partners and the local community.