Adopt a Family Program Helps Air Force Families - 8 News NOW

Adopt a Family Program Helps Air Force Families

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Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Janelle Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Janelle

LAS VEGAS -- Members of the U.S. Air Force work year round to keep this country safe, but sometimes they can use help from the people they protect, especially during the holidays.

That is where Operation Warmheart's Adopt-a-Family program can help.

Military families at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases are just like any other family unexpected medical bills or new expenses can add up quickly, putting a damper on the holidays.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Janelle moved his wife and two sons into a new home off base last year. That is when things started to pile up, unexpected bills came in and his oldest son was diagnosed with autism.

"Having to drive back and forth between therapies, child care to cover the time he needed the therapies. Also trying to get down to my mother in California, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis," F-16 crew chief Staff Sgt. Janelle said.

To make matters worse, it was the holidays.

"I was really sad and really stressed out. Also trying to balance things between work and home. I was stretched really thin and didn't know what I was going to do," Janelle said.

Members of Operation Warmheart work year round to help families like Janelle's at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases, but this time of year there is an extra push.

"Tends to be younger families with a few kids," Master Sgt. David Sims with the First Sergeants Council, said.

It is called the Adopt-a-Family program, and it is for families in financial crisis or separated by deployment.

"We have a lot of people deployed, separated from their families this time of year, and so we're mindful of them, and we want the families here to know we in the military are still looking out for them and their needs," Sims said.

This year the group has identified more than 260 families in need, including more than 500 children.

"People in uniform, we are not invincible. We're still human beings. We are trying to get by as much as the next person," Janelle said.

Staff Sgt. Janelle says last year the program saved his children's Christmas.

"As soon as they open up the doors, you see toys everywhere. They said here is your ticket. This is where you need to go. It was just a mountain of toys basically for my kids. It made me the happiest father in the world," he said.

This year, he hopes to help other military families feel the same way.

The deadline is Monday or Tuesday at the latest. The First Sergeants Council says unwrapped gifts will be accepted at the visitors center. 

If you like to make a tax-deductible cash donation, you can send a check to:

Nellis Support Team (Click for more information)
10777 West Twain Ave #120
Las Vegas, NV 89135

Anyone with question about Operation Warm Heart can send an email to: nellisoperationwarmheart-02@us.af.mil 

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