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AUAB coordinates necessities for evacuees

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kylee Gardner
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

For Staff Sgt. Emily Candel, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron dining facility board member, serving others comes naturally.

So when on Aug. 15, 2021, Al Udeid Air Base began receiving thousands of people out of Afghanistan as the primary transit hub for evacuees, she quickly realized there would be a need for installation members to step up and ensure certain vital necessities were met for this vulnerable population while they awaited transit.

“Our team of Airmen from the 379th EFSS, as well as other volunteers, are making sure evacuees are getting food, water, clean clothes, tooth brushes, et cetera,” Candel said. “We have been delivering those items to evacuees at multiple locations across the installation.”

Candel has been the main point of contact for all basic amenities and food allocated to evacuees at Al Udeid AB since the Afghanistan evacuations began.

“I am responsible [for] managing, organizing, inventorying and coordinating the distribution of all of the supplies,” said Candel.

Although she is the lead coordinator, Candel has been working with teams of volunteers from multiple branches of the U.S. military.

“During this operation, I have had the opportunity to work alongside Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and other Airmen,” said Candel. “It’s been an amazing opportunity being able to serve with our brothers and sisters in arms, even if it is during long hours in the heat all day. We know that what we’re doing is saving lives and that we need to band together as a team in order to do so efficiently.”

For Candel, the non-stop work in hot weather is worth it to provide the necessities for evacuees and their children; something she would want if she were in their situation.

“I try to put myself in their shoes while I’m working,” said Candel. “I think about what I would want others to do for me and my child, and I let that fuel me when I’m working 12-14 hour long shifts.”

It’s partially because of Candel and her team of volunteers, that Al Udeid AB has been able to safely facilitate evacuees and provide them with the basic living essentials while they process through to their next location.

“Bringing comfort to these people, whether by giving them clean clothes or a full stomach, has truly been a life changing and humbling experience,” said Candel.