The Big Give event made a comeback this year after being dormant for four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was once hosted by the 49th Force Support Squadron and has now been adopted by Casa Auto Group, making it the 13th Annual Big Give in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
The Big Give, now hosted by Casa Auto Group and supported by Holloman Air Force Base along with businesses in Otero County, is an event that contributes financial and labor support to the local community by providing volunteer opportunities that help with reduction of costs to organizations that are in need.
This year marked a historic turning point in Holloman’s community engagement since its resurgence.
“I get a little choked up and emotional having this program back after the pandemic,” said Rachael Lucero, Casa Auto Group marketing manager. “We loved partnering up with Holloman and Alamogordo again.”
The 49th Wing shares a unique bond with the surrounding community, and Alamo’s Big Give is just one of many annual events dedicated to supporting the local communities and assisting residents in need.
Thirteen teams composed of active duty Airmen, civilians and retirees completed projects during the month of July. The teams competed against each other by tending to local community needs with the end result ending in cash prize.
“Small teams were made up of one-to-five people and larger teams were made up of six-to-fifteen people,” ” said Lucero. “These teams picked projects in the community such as; rebuilding parks, working at the zoo, helping with the boys and girls club, etc.”
Casa Auto Group gave away $10,000 in prize money, distributed towards the small teams and first place group and $2,000 went to the people’s choice award, a donation made by Bobby Martinez, the previous owner of Casa Desert Sun. The prize money has helped fund events and ceremonies for the units of winning teams.
“These teams did incredible projects and tremendously impacted the community,” said Lucero. “No matter who wins, the teams will continue to help with these projects because it’s a passion of theirs.”
Over the decade, Team Holloman has saved Otero County over $2 million through their selfless contributions, and that number will continue to grow as the Holloman community hosts more Big Give events.
“We’ve had hundreds of teams over the last decade by joining together to help improve the community, manning thousands of volunteer hours,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Alfred Rosales, 49th Wing deputy commander. “In the last 22 years, my family and I have moved over a dozen bases and the relationship Holloman has with the surrounding communities is truly unique.”
The 2023 winning teams and their awards were:
People’s Choice Large Team 1st Place: 29th Attack Squadron’s Ghost Warriors, who assisted in the landscaping homes of the Mescalero Apache Reservation — $2,000
Small Team Winner: Air Force Sergeants Association, who improved and beautified Alamogordo’s community parks, saving the city money in the costs of labor — $2,500
Large Team 1st Place: 6th Attack Squadron Hawks, who refurbished Riner Steinhoff Soccer Complex at Alamogordo High School — $7,500