I am Airman First Class James Spreter of the currently deployed 4th (EASOG). We are aligned with the Fifth Corps out of Germany. Our job is to control air strikes on targets far ahead of our good guys before harm can be brought against our brothers in arms. We also delegate the aircraft to the correct agencies to make sure that our brothers, once again, are as far from harm as we can help keep them.
I am also a proud former member of the Serve Alaska Youth Corps (S.A.G.A) program. I first joined as a youth member in the summer program and learned many valuable skills I still use today, including volunteerism and a strong work ethic. I learned these skills from the AmeriCorps members that I worked side by side with, day in and day out. I saw a potential in myself that I didn't know was there. I still correspond with the members that I met and worked with over five years ago. Some are as far away as Australia.
After graduating from the Alaska Military Youth Academy, I decided to give back the blessing given to me by the S.A.G.A program by becoming a corps member so that I could be the leader and share the experiences I have had with younger corps members. I worked with Mary Millsap and Joe Parrish in Juneau on some of the most rewarding projects of my life and helped to teach the values of a strong work ethic and volunteerism to a new generation, as well as reinforce the base of ethics and values I had for myself.
After completing my term with AmeriCorps, I decided to use the volunteerism I had learned through them and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I again volunteered to go to a critically manned career field as a forward air controller, the job I am holding defending our freedom in Baghdad.
I know that if Juneau lost the AmeriCorps volunteers who have worked there for years, it would be a huge loss to the community, especially the youth of Juneau. AmeriCorps is worth many times more than the money that would be saved by eliminating those positions. There are many more former volunteers I can have contact you who would be honored to give additional testimony for this incredibly worthwhile program
I hope and pray that this can be of some assistance to the issue.
A1C James M. Spreter