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The glint of light on shattered glass

22 ARW

Airman 1st Class Brendon Rabon, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace maintenance apprentice, stands next to his truck Jan. 9, 2018, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Rabon recently received news his stolen truck was found and immediately went back to Arkansas to retrieve it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A young man, who just graduated high school was on his way to his first duty station from his home in Florida when he made a stop in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Dec. 16, 2018. After a good night’s sleep, he packed up his things and walked out the door-only to find a broken pile of glass where he had parked his truck.

Airman 1st Class Brendon Rabon, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace maintenance apprentice, felt he lost everything; his truck, his new dirt bike and all of his clothing he brought with him including uniforms.

Little Rock ranks as one of the top ten cities in the country when it comes to crime and poverty.

“My first reaction when I didn’t see my truck was that I must be going crazy!” said Rabon. “So I circled the entire hotel parking lot to make sure I didn’t park somewhere else, but when I realized everything was gone I was devastated.”

He leaned on his family, who jumped into action by turning to social media to post about the incident. Debbie Barfield, Rabon’s grandmother, made a post that was shared over 300,000 times. Multiple news stations also picked up the story, which helped spread the word of his stolen items.

Being a young, brand new Airman and not expecting such a tragedy Rabon didn’t have the means to replace everything he lost on the spot, but he knew he still needed to get to McConnell. He bought a plane ticket and hoped his things would be found.

“As soon as I got to McConnell, the first sergeants reached out to me and were very understanding.” said Rabon. “They even gave me $250 from the Operation Warmheart funds to help me replace some of my stolen items.”

Operation Warmheart is a fundraising program with the McConnell First Sergeant Council uses to help Airmen through situations that may not meet criteria for other assistance funds. The money is raised once a year during the holidays.

“We ensured that we got him squared away by taking him to the Airman’s Attic as well as getting him some new boots and uniforms,” said Master Sgt. Quentin Davis, 22nd AMXS first sergeant.

Rabon said this experience has given him a whole new perspective on resiliency and how strong he can be with the support of not only his immediate family, but his new Air Force family.

“After going through this experience, I realized that have more than I had before,” said Rabon. “Now I have a whole new family that I know will help me out through the hard times.”

Rabon has since found his truck, dirt bike and most of his belongings excluding a few stolen items. He is very thankful that his truck only had one broken window and wasn’t in worse condition.

The Air Force family offers multiple programs to help Airmen and their families through situations just like Rabon’s. From your wingmen, to your unit’s first sergeant or Military One Source. There’s always someone who can help you get the support you need when you may feel hopeless.