TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The 60th Aerial Port Squadron here donated 1,000 unused pillows and blankets to the Yolo County Animal Services Shelter Oct. 29.
Prior to COVID-19, passengers flying out of Travis were provided with a pillow and a blanket. However, due to the pandemic, Air Mobility Command issued a policy stopping the service in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus. The new policy left the 60th APS with around 5,000 unused supplies for passengers that cannot be returned.
Michael Echavarria, 60th APS passenger service agent, came up with the idea of donating the pillows and blankets to local shelters.
He led the donation drive with Master Sgt. Corydon Coombs, 60th APS fleet operations section chief. Echavarria coordinated donation efforts with animal shelters in the surrounding area while Coombs coordinated the logistics.
“Team Travis and the local community have all experienced great unrest from the recent wildfires,” said Echavarria. “What better way to show animals and families in need that Travis is thinking about them and doing what we can to help.”
The 60th APS’s resourcefulness inspired other military installations on what to do with their unused supplies.
“A Senior Master Sgt. from a passenger terminal at Dover called and asked me how I accomplished getting the pillows and blankets donated,” said Echavarria. “I sent him everything that I had done. He told me that McChord is wanting to do the same thing, so he sent the information to them as well.”
There are around 4,000 more pillows and blankets left to be donated by the 60th APS. Echavarria and Coombs will be donating the remaining supplies to other local shelters in the near future.