Misawa Airman embraces the gift of giving

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Nearing the end of the week families celebrated and enjoyed festivities and peace brought by the Christmas season, and while the holidays are a time for sharing, love and togetherness, there were few who were almost left out of the happiness. The days leading up to the holiday seemed bleak, but a single Airman changed that.

Senior Airman Lowell Travis, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy planner, donated his time and money to the Shichinohe Orphanage on Dec. 23, ensuring no one missed out during the holidays.

He organized the event with the snow shop personnel to deliver presents to the Shichinohe Orphanage in Shichinohe, Japan, fostering the bond between Misawa and Japan by reaching out to other areas in the country.

“For us to go to Shichinohe and go beyond Misawa helps us expand the partnership with the Northern areas of Japan,” Travis said. “I think because our community is so tight and we already established a great relationship with Misawa, doing events like handing out toys to orphanages really helps in building our partnership with our host nation.”

Travis and his shop gathered 41 gifts as well as $160 to provide the 41 kids and caretakers with presents and a pizza party.

The act of kindness made Daiki Komata, a high school student and member of Shichinohe Orphanage, express his gratitude by giving Travis a thank you card on behalf of the group.

“I was very happy to receive the presents from [Misawa Airmen],” Komata said. “The community is nice to help us, and with the gifts we can build more relationships in different ways with each other here.”

The idea came about a few weeks before Christmas; it didn’t take long for Travis' shop to get on board.

“What really kicked it off was when I went to the Exchange and saw a bunch of toys on sale,” Travis said. “I know I don’t have any kids, but I knew there were children out there who would appreciate getting toys.”

From there, Travis and his wife, Kennedy Travis, decided to buy 20 toys to begin the process.

“[My wife] was there for me during the whole thing,” Travis said. “I’m glad I have her because we’re always there to inspire each other for things like this. She encouraged me and said I should start the program myself.”

Travis said he designed this event to be specific to the 35th CES so they could bond with Shichinohe Orphanage again, but he has hopes for its expansion in the future.

“If this could grow even after I leave to involve other orphanages that would be amazing,” Travis said. “I think it shows the military presence here is grateful for Japan letting us be here. I think it's an investment in the future of the community.”