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47th STUS gives back

Second Lt. John Edel, 86th Flying Training Squadron student pilot, makes a new friend at an animal shelter in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. Edel was part of a group that took part in “STUS Serve Day,” where the 47th Student Squadron gathered nearly 500 volunteers to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Second Lt. John Edel, 86th Flying Training Squadron student pilot, makes a new friend at an animal shelter in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. Edel was part of a group that took part in “STUS Serve Day,” where the 47th Student Squadron gathered nearly 500 volunteers to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

A group of volunteers from the 47th Student Squadron plant flowers at an elderly community in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. The volunteers were taking part in “STUS Serve Day,” where the 47th STUS gathered nearly 500 volunteers to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

A group of volunteers from the 47th Student Squadron plant flowers at an elderly community in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. The volunteers were taking part in “STUS Serve Day,” where the 47th STUS gathered nearly 500 volunteers to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

A volunteer from the 47th Student Squadron tends to a newly planted flower in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. The 47th STUS held their Serve Day, where the members of the squadron joined forces to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

A volunteer from the 47th Student Squadron tends to a newly planted flower in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. The 47th STUS held their Serve Day, where the members of the squadron joined forces to help at various locations around the community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Tech. Sgt. Arturo Garcia, 47th Student Squadron command support staff NCO in charge, cleans a cat litter box at an animal shelter in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. With nearly 500 volunteers that day, the 47th Student Squadron dedicated approximately 15,000 man hours to serving the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

Tech. Sgt. Arturo Garcia, 47th Student Squadron command support staff NCO in charge, cleans a cat litter box at an animal shelter in Del Rio, Texas, March 3, 2018. With nearly 500 volunteers that day, the 47th Student Squadron dedicated approximately 15,000 man hours to serving the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

A volunteer day was held in Del Rio, Texas, by the 47th Student Squadron on March 3, 2018.

Members of the squadron extended a helping hand to various agencies throughout the local and base community, once again paving the way for Laughlin to give back to Del Rio.

“STUS serve day was put together to strengthen community bonds and servant leadership from the students,” said Capt. Jessica Foster, 47th STUS flight commander. “We wanted to teach them to lead by example, and show how important taking care of your community is.”

With more than 450 volunteers, the 47th STUS spread out across town at 18 different project locations, and dedicated nearly 15,000 man hours to the community; schools, parks, nursing homes, animal shelters and nature trails were helped by the squadron’s volunteer mission.

While the local agencies receiving the aid were grateful, the volunteers were also thankful for the experiences.

“We reap the benefits of going out and serving the community, and they reap the benefits of getting some extra hands to help,” said 2nd Lt. John Edel, 86th Flying Training Squadron student pilot. “My favorite part was spending time with the dogs. I’m a big dog person, so it felt good to get those dogs out of the kennel and lend a hand down there.”

This year’s Serve Day was the second year the event was held, Foster said, and she hopes to see more of it.

With the 47th STUS keeping an eye on next year, the community is also excited to see where the future of this event is headed.

“It’s so amazing to get help from [the squadron],” said Katrina Dennis, president of “A Pet’s Wish,” a local animal shelter. “It feels so good knowing that there’s people from on base or out of town that care about the animals and the community. I can’t say anything other than it’s just great.”