Community rockstar

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
As the performers took their turns singing songs on the stage in front of a crowded ballroom at the Robert J. Dole Community Center, it was difficult noticing anything except the music.

The show went on, the audience laughed and cheered.

Statements of thanks and satisfaction were heard once the crowd started to drift out of the building and go back home.

The entire time all of this was happening, one woman was in the background checking various aspects of the performance and going back-and-forth between staff members to ensure everything was running smoothly.

Fe Vorderlandwehr, the 22nd Force Support Squadron community center director here, made sure that the event did not suffer from anything out of her control.

The Wichita, Kan., native has been working at McConnell for approximately 12 years and has been in her current position since 2007.

As the Community Center director, Vorderlandwehr is responsible for planning, organizing and managing special events and programs hosted at the community center. She supervises two other civilian employees and works closely with volunteers for many events to ensure smooth functions.

"It's a whole team effort here at the community center," said Vorderlandwehr. "The staff, all of the volunteers and the [22nd Force Support Squadron] have really helped build it up."

With Vorderlandwehr's careful guidance, the community center won the Air Mobility Command Community Center of the Year award three years in row from 2009 through 2011.

Despite the fact that Vorderlandwehr overseas a multitude of different events and functions, she enjoys her job and the people she works with.

"I love working with all of the different people and doing the different programs," said Vorderlandwehr. "I love being able to say 'they're having fun' or hearing the families come up and say they had a great time where ever they were at."

In addition to having a heavy hand in McConnell affairs, Vorderlandwehr has made a name for herself outside of the base community too.

"People know her," said Anne Bowman, Vorderlandwehr's campaign manager for the 2012 Woman of the Year campaign. "She never starts something she isn't willing to see through completion. She's willing to ask people to help her causes, and they always say yes."

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society chose Vorderlandwehr as their 2012 Woman of the Year after a 10 week campaign.

During those 10 weeks, Vorderlandwehr and her supporters raised over $58,000 for the LLS. Vorderlandwehr was the only candidate out of 12 to raise over $50,000, enough to fund a cancer researcher for one year.

"We just went out and did fundraisers and tried to raise awareness about leukemia and lymphoma," said Vorderlandwehr. "I didn't realize how intense it would be until I actually got in the trenches of it, but we did so well in the end that it was totally worth it."

Even with the large amount of success the community center has achieved, Vorderlandwehr doesn't claim to do anything special to get there.

"There wasn't really anybody in this position before I got here," said Vorderlandwehr. "It was just a matter of talking to people, finding out what they wanted to do and getting together with other bases to see what they did successfully."

Vorderlandwehr has won two Civilian of the Year awards for the 22nd FSS and four Civilian of the Quarter awards from the 22nd FSS and the 22nd Mission Support Group in her tenure at McConnell along with several awards in the private sector ranging from local to nation-wide in scope.

As an advocate for McConnell and the Wichita area, Vorderlandwehr wants to continue making the base somewhere people want to be, said Vorderlandwehr. As long as people are happy and have something to do, she will be happy.