Being a positive role model makes for a positive mentor

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Rodney Furr
  • 439th Airlift Wing

Being a positive role model is one of the most effective mentoring tools Airmen can use to influence and affect future change. Two members of the Westover family will be doing just that to support a local community engagement event, Dec. 20.


Lt. Col. Rodney Furr, Chief, Public Affairs, and Major Kimberly Askew, Commander, 439th Logistic Readiness Squadron, are scheduled to speak to elementary school students this week as part of the on-going Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative. The United States Attorney’s Office is assisting the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office and the YMCA of Greater Holyoke in bringing a program to a youth basketball league on Friday nights. 


According to Karen Legace, Project Safe Childhood Program Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice, the theme of the mentorship program is “You Can Be Anything You Want To Be.” The purpose behind the combined initiative is to provide positive work role models for the children in grades 3-6 by having people from various professions speak about their respective experiences, and how they got to where they are today.


The two Westover Airmen will center their talk on focus, and give examples from their careers to show how concentrating on, and make a priority of, something in their lives were so important. Ms. Lagace said several of the students are underprivileged and live in single parent homes. In addition, many of them have siblings who have never graduated from high school, let alone attended college and achieved professional employment goals. The Safe Neighborhood Initiative is a unique way to let children know that there should be no limits to what one can do in life, and that there are so many options out there. Further, she feels the military – which emphasizes growth, learning and training, and opportunities to travel – is a perfect way deliver this very message.