An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

332nd Recruiting Squadron organizes event to help disaster victims in Kentucky

  • Published
  • By AFRS Public Affairs
  • Air Force Recruiting Service

After a Dec. 10, 2021, tornado caused death and destruction in multiple states, members of Air Force Recruiting Service’s 332nd Recruiting Squadron responded quickly and took action to help their community.

Within 72 hours of the disaster, AFRS Airmen and other volunteers began organizing a no-cost event to help residents of Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

“Originally the idea was to reach people in shelters and provide some positivity through simple involvement like throwing a football and taking time to spend with the families affected,” said 2nd Lt. Brennan Burke, a Gold Bar Recruiter and native of Kentucky who is assigned to the 333rd RCS at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida. With support from her command in Florida, Burke headed to her home state to help fellow Kentuckians and the 332nd RCS.

“Good-hearted people from all over mobilized to make the relief effort bigger than anyone anticipated,” Burke said.

With homes and infrastructure destroyed, communities left unrecognizable and more than 50 people including children dead, the 332nd RCS’s initiative started to achieve its goal.

“The physical devastation is only part of the damage caused,” said 2nd Lt. Jacob Hoppe, a Gold Bar Recruiter with the 332nd RCS in Nashville. “Dawson Springs is a community of no more than 2,500 people and it was one of the communities that was hit the hardest. Over 200 families were displaced and living in government-furnished cabins.”

Word spread and with the backing of volunteers, the 332nd RCS was able to plan the “Dawson Springs Down Day” Jan. 13, 2022, at the West Kentucky 4-H Camp.

Recruiters outside of Dawson Springs reached out to find people in the community who were willing to donate their time to operate games, competitions, the flight simulator and a face painting station.

Several television and radio stations advertised the event and people outside of Dawson Springs traveled long distances to help. Burke said that organizers also advertised the event on commercial and regional social media sites.

Two musicians in Frankfort, Kentucky, drove three hours to sing at the Dawson Springs Down Day. One man travelled for six hours on the evening before the event so he could serve more than 300 meals at no cost. A church provided more than 150 homemade meals of jambalaya. One woman brought phones from a government agency for people who qualified for assistance.

“The Dawson Springs Down Day was open to all members of the community, at no cost, and it was provided by some of the most amazing people in order to give Dawson Springs a feeling of hope, said Tech. Sgt. Keith Creyer a recruiter with the 332nd RCS in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

“In all this destruction and loss, comes this incredible warmth of a community that has nothing but love to give,” said Burke. “Children were able to be children again, and parents were smiling for the first time since the tornado.

Recruiters felt like aiding in recovery efforts was a way of giving back to the communities they live and serve in.

“As a recruiting service we are in these communities asking families to give us their sons and daughters to carry out the Air Force mission,” Burke said. “Now it’s our responsibility as a service to help these communities in times of need and show them that we are fully integrated with them, and we are there to support them as we would support our own families.”