OAC gifts turkeys, hams to service members

  • Published
  • By J.B. Artley
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The Offutt Advisory Council handed out turkeys and hams to service members and their families at Offutt Air Force Base Nov. 18, 2022, in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Herman Colvin, OAC member, started Operation: Giving Thanks in 2018 when he purchased 40 turkeys with his own money for Christmas and contacted Ryan Hansen, 55th Wing chief of Public Affairs, for assistance in handing them out.

“The first year Herman asked me about giving away turkeys, we filled the seats of my Chevy Tahoe and delivered them to The Pointe over in military housing, for the staff there to hand out,” said Hansen.

The following year Colvin and his co-chair on OAC, Tim Burke, former CEO of Omaha Public Power District, asked the council if they would like to participate in the giveaway. With the extra money provided, they were able to buy 100 turkeys and 100 hams.  

What started just four short years ago as one man’s generous gift, has become a community supported event. This year, the OAC and local business leaders raised nearly $40,000.

“This year for Thanksgiving, we gave out 200 turkeys and 100 hams plus a $25 gift card to every family,” Colvin said. “It won’t pay for everything, but it will help out some.” 

Colvin is an Air Force veteran and understands the challenges military families face being stationed far away from their families.   

“It’s such a blessing because we’ve been struggling this year with a couple of deaths in our family, my husband’s parents,” said Rachel Westerlund, wife of a service member and mother of three.   

Colvin hopes the event continues to grow and is working on plans to make it even bigger next year.

“It just makes me feel good about our community, because without the business leaders and the OAC I don’t think it would be possible for this event to be so large,” said Colvin.  

The OAC plans on handing out an additional 300 hams Dec. 16, 2022, for Christmas. Because the supply went so quickly for Thanksgiving, they’re asking those who were able to get a turkey or ham this time to hold off on coming to the distribution site to allow others to get one.