McConnell melting pot: 22nd MDG Airmen band together, raise money for Nepal families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Members from the 22nd Medical Group rallied together to raise money for families in Nepal after the recent earthquakes.

The Airman who organized the fundraiser, Capt. Prashant Sharma, former 22nd Medical Group chief of aerospace medicine, was born in Nepal and came to the U.S. when he was nine. He and his wife, who is also from Nepal, both still have family living there.

"I just wanted to do what I could to help," said Sharma. "I wanted to get a group together to donate money and supplies to those in need. We had a hard time figuring out the best way to do so though, because we found out that some donations weren't reaching their intended recipients."

After finding out that his family was okay, he reached out and worked with them to find an organization that was getting supplies to people in need.

"Thankfully, my cousins and my wife's family were okay," Sharma said. "Once we began working together, we decided to donate to the Educating Nepal team who were using donated money to buy supplies and giving them directly to the people who needed them."

Sharma raised money from the 22nd MDG and his wife raised money from Wichita State University, Kansas. Together the two raised more than $1,000 with the help of their coworkers and personal donations.

"We set out a few boxes within the medical group and made it anonymous so there wasn't any pressure on people to donate," Sharma said. "There were a lot of people who were on board with my idea, they heard what I wanted to do and helped out in a lot of different ways. Airmen from my section, like Airman 1st Class [Marisa] Miller volunteered to help any way they could."

The Airmen distributed cans in secure locations, collected money and spread the word about what Sharma was doing.

"Capt. Sharma gave us a heartwarming story about what he was trying to do, so it really moved us to donate and help in whatever capacity we could," said Senior Airman Justin Hilty, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace medical technician.

The money donated was sent to the region of Kathmandu, Nepal, and was used to buy blankets, food, water and other essential items, Sharma said.

"We have a really close shop," Hilty said. "We try to help each other whenever an opportunity comes up. It's nice to know we have each other's backs."