This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
James McClung wears many hats in the Colorado Springs community.
He is the noncommissioned officer in charge of Airmen and Family Readiness at Peterson Air Force Base, the Emergency Family Assistance Center coordinator and a board member at the Southeast Family Center and Armed Services YMCA.
According to its website, the southeast YMCA works with military families in enlisted ranks with crisis prevention. It also helps provide low to no cost memberships and programs to service members and their families.
When the Black Forest fire struck Colorado Springs in June, the YMCA organized a meeting with the various military bases in the area to figure out how to best handle any future natural disasters in the area. It was after this meeting that the YMCA asked McClung to serve on its board.
"I think the YMCA has worked really hard to reach the community," he said. "It is a great way to keep kids busy after school and really helps the families with deployed family members."
McClung moved to Colorado Springs in June 2005 to work at the Air Force Academy as an operating room technician, and moved to Peterson in November 2011.
He works hard to help the military community, and he said the YMCA is a very important part of that.
"The YMCA is incredibly supportive to families during difficult times in the military," he said.
It provides special blankets to children with deployed family members. It also has special events, including at the Air Force vs. Army game this fall and on Veteran's Day.
McClung said YMCA family passes provide great savings for families and children who want to participate in activities such as sports teams, swimming lessons and more.
"This really helps people save money while they are still receiving many benefits," he said. "They are a fantastic partner for us here and provide benefits for those in the military, and they are also a fantastic partner for the community."