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First sergeants feed families

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Phebus, 83rd Network Operations Squadron first sergeant, stacks boxes of donated food at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Phebus, as part of the Langley First Sergeants Council, is supporting Operation Warmheart which helps Langley Airmen during the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Phebus, 83rd Network Operations Squadron first sergeant, stacks boxes of donated food at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Phebus, as part of the Langley First Sergeants Council, is supporting Operation Warmheart which helps Langley Airmen during the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kenry Peart, 633rd Comptroller Squadron first sergeant, carries bags filled with groceries to a nearby car for distribution at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012.  First Sergeants coordinate with supervisors to identify Airmen who would benefit most from the baskets that are donated through the Operation Warmheart program.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kenry Peart, 633rd Comptroller Squadron first sergeant, carries bags filled with groceries to a nearby car for distribution at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012. First Sergeants coordinate with supervisors to identify Airmen who would benefit most from the baskets that are donated through the Operation Warmheart program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)

Cash donations are collected Nov. 9, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. in support of the Operation WARMHEART Thanksgiving basket initiative, led by the Langley First Sergeant Council. This two-week long fundraising campaign aims to create and deliver more than 500 Thanksgiving baskets for Joint Base Langley-Eustis families, containing items ranging from cornbread to a full-sized turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Katie G. Ward / Released) (serial numbers blurred for security)

Cash donations are collected Nov. 9, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. in support of the Operation WARMHEART Thanksgiving basket initiative, led by the Langley First Sergeant Council. This two-week long fundraising campaign aims to create and deliver more than 500 Thanksgiving baskets for Joint Base Langley-Eustis families, containing items ranging from cornbread to a full-sized turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Katie G. Ward / Released) (serial numbers blurred for security)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Kaufman, 438th Supply Chain Operation Squadron first sergeant (center) and Staff Sgt. Eric Perez, 438th SCOS F-16 weapons system management flight supervisor, inform Audra Caldwell how to donate to the Operation Warmheart organization at the Base Exchange, Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 9, 2012. Operation Warmheart is an organization run by first sergeants to help Airmen in need, especially during the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Kaufman, 438th Supply Chain Operation Squadron first sergeant (center) and Staff Sgt. Eric Perez, 438th SCOS F-16 weapons system management flight supervisor, inform Audra Caldwell how to donate to the Operation Warmheart organization at the Base Exchange, Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 9, 2012. Operation Warmheart is an organization run by first sergeants to help Airmen in need, especially during the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen run toward the flight line during the Langley First Sergeants’ Council 5k run or walk at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The 5k was done to support Operation Warmheart, a community and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

U.S. Air Force Airmen run toward the flight line during the Langley First Sergeants’ Council 5k run or walk at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The 5k was done to support Operation Warmheart, a community and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

U.S. Airmen participate in the Langley First Sergeants’ council 5k run or walk at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Canned food items and donations were collected at the 5k to be donated to The Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

U.S. Airmen participate in the Langley First Sergeants’ council 5k run or walk at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Canned food items and donations were collected at the 5k to be donated to The Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

Participants who finish first, second and third place at the Langley First Sergeants’ Council 5k run or walk receive a medal at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The 5k raised money and collected canned food items for Operation Warmheart, a community and outreach program for Langley Airmen that provides year-round assistance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

Participants who finish first, second and third place at the Langley First Sergeants’ Council 5k run or walk receive a medal at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The 5k raised money and collected canned food items for Operation Warmheart, a community and outreach program for Langley Airmen that provides year-round assistance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kelly Moose, 1st Aircraft maintenance squadron first sergeant, pins on his number for the Langley First Sergeants Council 5K Fun Run Walk to benefit Operation Warmheart, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Operation Warmheart supports Langley Airman and their families year round. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kelly Moose, 1st Aircraft maintenance squadron first sergeant, pins on his number for the Langley First Sergeants Council 5K Fun Run Walk to benefit Operation Warmheart, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Operation Warmheart supports Langley Airman and their families year round. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Lackman, Air Force Targeting Center first sergeant, and Master Sgt. James Mitchell, 10th Intelligence Squadron First Sergeant, stack food cans donated by Langley First Sergeants Council 5K Fun Run Walk participants to benefit Operation Warmheart, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Operation Warmheart is the single largest community and outreach program for Langley.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Lackman, Air Force Targeting Center first sergeant, and Master Sgt. James Mitchell, 10th Intelligence Squadron First Sergeant, stack food cans donated by Langley First Sergeants Council 5K Fun Run Walk participants to benefit Operation Warmheart, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. Operation Warmheart is the single largest community and outreach program for Langley.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)

Volunteers begin running in the First Sergeants 5k fun run at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The proceeds raised go to support Operation Warmheart. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)
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Volunteers begin running in the First Sergeants 5k fun run at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 16, 2012. The proceeds raised go to support Operation Warmheart. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Korvin Auch, 633rd Air Base Wing commander, addresses Operation Warmheart volunteers before the distribution of baskets takes place at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012.  Operation Warmheart provides complete Thanksgiving dinners to eligible junior enlisted Airmen and their families during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)
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U.S. Air Force Col. Korvin Auch, 633rd Air Base Wing commander, addresses Operation Warmheart volunteers before the distribution of baskets takes place at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012. Operation Warmheart provides complete Thanksgiving dinners to eligible junior enlisted Airmen and their families during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Korvin Auch, 633rd Air Base Wing commander, speaks to volunteers of Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012.  Volunteers donated a variety of Thanksgiving staples; including stuffing, pie, canned vegetables and cornbread mix for the Thanksgiving baskets.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)
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U.S. Air Force Col. Korvin Auch, 633rd Air Base Wing commander, speaks to volunteers of Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012. Volunteers donated a variety of Thanksgiving staples; including stuffing, pie, canned vegetables and cornbread mix for the Thanksgiving baskets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)

Bags full of groceries await delivery to eligible junior enlisted Airmen at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012.  Operation Warmheart is a non-profit organization established to distribute charitable funds to Langley families throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)
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Bags full of groceries await delivery to eligible junior enlisted Airmen at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Nov. 19, 2012. Operation Warmheart is a non-profit organization established to distribute charitable funds to Langley families throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman/Released)

Langley first sergeants and volunteer Airmen filled more than 550 bags with Thanksgiving dinner items that will soon be on the tables of local Airmen in need, Nov 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Each bag contains cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional fixings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)
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Langley first sergeants and volunteer Airmen filled more than 550 bags with Thanksgiving dinner items that will soon be on the tables of local Airmen in need, Nov 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Each bag contains cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional fixings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)

Volunteers carry bags of Thanksgiving dinners in support of Operation Warmheart Nov. 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. OWH’s main mission is to provide grants to Airmen in need. The Thanksgiving food basket give-away is the largest OWH event of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)
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Volunteers carry bags of Thanksgiving dinners in support of Operation Warmheart Nov. 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. OWH’s main mission is to provide grants to Airmen in need. The Thanksgiving food basket give-away is the largest OWH event of the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)

Master Sgt. Kendra Wilson, 30th Intelligence Squadron first sergeant, helps carry bags of Thanksgiving dinner; in support of Operation Warmheart Nov. 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Money raised through 5K runs and donations allowed the Joint Base Langley-Eustis First Sergeant  ouncil to make roughly 550 food baskets for Airmen in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)
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Master Sgt. Kendra Wilson, 30th Intelligence Squadron first sergeant, helps carry bags of Thanksgiving dinner; in support of Operation Warmheart Nov. 17, 2012, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Money raised through 5K runs and donations allowed the Joint Base Langley-Eustis First Sergeant ouncil to make roughly 550 food baskets for Airmen in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin/Released)

Operation Warmheart, annually put on by the Langley First Sergeants Council, is used to help Airman who may be struggling over the holidays at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. This year, Operation Warmheart gathered 550 bags of donated food to hand out to families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)
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Operation Warmheart, annually put on by the Langley First Sergeants Council, is used to help Airman who may be struggling over the holidays at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. This year, Operation Warmheart gathered 550 bags of donated food to hand out to families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Reginald Tate, 633rd Medical Operation Squadron medical technician, helps organize food during Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Operation Warmheart had multiple Airmen volunteer to help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Reginald Tate, 633rd Medical Operation Squadron medical technician, helps organize food during Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Operation Warmheart had multiple Airmen volunteer to help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Millian, 1st Air Craft Maintenance crew chief, pushes a cart full of food for Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Millian was one of the many Airmen who came and volunteered their time to help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Millian, 1st Air Craft Maintenance crew chief, pushes a cart full of food for Operation Warmheart at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Nov. 17, 2012. Millian was one of the many Airmen who came and volunteered their time to help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kimberly Nagle/Released)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Cranberry sauce, stuffed turkeys and honey-baked hams will soon fill the tabletops of many households nationwide.

But at Langley Air Force Base, Va., some of those households would not have a Thanksgiving feast if not for Operation Warmheart, which allows first sergeants to step up and help Airmen in need.

OWH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of Langley families. It raises money throughout the year to provide for struggling Airmen at any point in their lives, whether it be for covering the costs of a holiday feast, or providing a little extra money to get back on track.

"Operation Warmheart is all about giving back to the Airmen," said Master Sgt. Ariane Freeman, 633rd Medical Group first sergeant. "The funds received go straight to Airmen here at Langley."

During the Thanksgiving time frame, OWH pulls out all the stops. The Thanksgiving food basket give-away is the largest event OWH presents. Money raised throughout the year via 5Ks and donations allowed the Joint Base Langley-Eustis First Sergeant Council to make roughly 550 food baskets for Airmen in need.

The food baskets aren't just packs of crackers either. Each basket contains cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional fixings. The baskets do not come with a ham or a turkey, but rather a food voucher for the Airmen to make the selection themselves, which benefits vegetarian Airmen who might want an alternative.

Making the food baskets instills a great sense of pride, said Master Sgt Ryan McCauley, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant.

"Our job as first sergeants is to get our Airmen exactly what they need," he said. "Having the opportunity to help 550 families makes me love what I do."

The baskets are only one instance of the impact OWH has on the JBLE community.

OWH's main mission is to provide grants to Airmen in need. If an Airman is struggling financially, and needs cash for food, gas money or other necessities, the JBLE First Sergeant Council will evaluate the needs of the Airman and provide a grant to help during a time of need.

Random Acts of Kindness became a part of the OWH mission in the spring of 2012. The JBLE First Sergeant Council gave out cold drinks to flightline Airmen, provided gas cards and paid the grocery bills of Airmen at the commissary; all entirely at random. The RAK initiative showed Airmen they don't need to request help to be recognized by the Langley community and that they are valuable to the mission.