Unprecedented Times, Unprecedented Measures – The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center Hosts the First Virtual Combined Federal Campaign Telethon
Thanks to the Office of Personnel Management, the Aeronautical Center hosted the first ever CFC telethon, virtually

The Center’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has been under way for ten weeks, and what a year this has been! Although the effort to lead a campaign virtually has been met with some challenges, it has been rewarding. "I’ve bonded with more of my fellow employees and CFC Team more than in previous year’s campaigns," said one of the Center Chairs, Debbie Uglean. This year’s campaign has not only humanized the needs of so many in our community, but also revealed the true colors of those working on and donating to the campaign.

Having heard from many local charities through the Center’s first ever CFC Telethon (virtual), and through virtual charity fairs that were held during the campaign, employees heard first-hand about the increased, dire needs of our CFC Charity partners. Cynde Starnes, a long time Aeronautical Center CFC hero and supporter, and one of this year’s CFC Campaign Chairs for the Center has been working harder than ever with local charities to highlight those increased needs.

"Our Enterprise Services Center keyworker team meets each week to discuss how to motivate our co-workers to join in on this campaign. As a team it is our goal to touch the hearts of our coworkers and to find the agencies that speak to them," Cynde stated. She continued, "Giving begins with the heart. Over the summer, I spoke with many local agencies and the conversations were very much alike." Through her outreach efforts, Cynde learned that many of our local agencies rely on volunteers to help reduce their overhead. Starting in mid-March, the agencies were no longer able to host volunteers, so their overhead costs rose quickly. She also spoke with the Regional Food Bank, and from mid March through late July, their labor costs alone were over $40,000.

Having also reached out to several of the local animal shelters and rescue services, Cynde learned that they were receiving more abandoned animals – more than they could ever recall. The time came when they were at full capacity. They began reaching out to other shelters for space and to individuals that could help with caring for abandoned animals. Food donations also decreased and medical needs for the animals escalated.

Cynde Starnes’ efforts did not stop with hunger and animal’s needs; she also did some research on the local homeless situation. "Our homeless shelters are over capacity and the Homeless Alliance is working with property management companies that have hotels that are not in use, for possibly providing temporary housing for the homeless. To listen to their situations and to hear that pain in their voices, and the uncertainty that was ahead was heartbreaking," says Cynde. She has been asked many times over the years why she continues her level of support for CFC and her reply has been, "My ’why’ is not about me, but is about others that need our support. This year has been extremely hard for so many. I do not discount that among my co-workers, there could be a family that is down to one income (due to their spouse losing their job) and that family might be in need of some assistance."

Debbie Uglean states, "We are so blessed as Federal Employees, in that we have steady income and work, and we are in a great position to help our community. Our donation numbers are disappointing to me, considering the increased needs of those around us, and our ability to actually do something about it. I challenge all employees who have not yet donated to give $10 to just one CFC charity. This small act would add up quickly for the charities." Debbie is already working on ideas for next year’s campaign. Please consider donating this week or next, as December 18th is the last active CFC campaign week at the Center. Note: Giving is open until January 15th, 2021, and your donations will still go towards the Center’s totals.

To give, please go to https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/welcome or you can use the CFC mobile app (an online profile must be set up first), or you can get in touch with your CFC Coordinator/Keyworker for more information on how to give. You can also reach out to one of the campaign chairs - Debbie Uglean, Cynde Starnes, or Sarah Musler for assistance.

A multitude of charities were represented in the Telethon. Here, Positive Tomorrows played a video demonstrating the efforts of the work they perform.
Even musical talent was provided by Andrew Vargas, son of Rod Vargas (AMC-3) encouraging donors to give to Ronald McDonald House
Jim Doskow, Director of the FAA Academy with his dog Piper, encouraged employees to give to the OK Regional Food Bank
Guest speakers from different charities were invited to speak. Here, Sal Gonzales talks about the Wounded Warriors.
Mary Watts, a retired FAA employee and now a volunteer at WildCare Oklahoma talked about the work they do in rescuing animals. They also provided a live stream of a baby squirrel being fed.
Periodically throughout the day, pledge totals were given, encouraging employees to donate whatever they could

Class Matters is another charity that provided a spokesperson and video to demonstrate how they are impacting the community
Ethan O’Connor plays the guitar in hopes that employees would consider giving to Pivot, Inc.
(L-R) Debbie Uglean, Kim Sheppard and her daughter Addison delivered a cooking demonstration on how to make a pumpkin roll
The telethon also offered some fun competitions for employees, including a pet picture contest
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