RAF Croughton community rallies around CDC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason Cochran
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

A strong community isn't needed more, nor apparent, than during times of crisis. This statement was tested when several buildings, including the Child Development Center, at RAF Croughton flooded after an intense storm that brought an immense amount of water.

The RAF Croughton CDC experienced a major flood that damaged every room and required staff to evacuate 16 children to the fire station, said Julie Petersen, 422d Air Base Squadron training and curriculum specialist.

“At first, we thought only a portion of the building was going to take on water, but as soon as we realized the whole building was soon going to have inches of water in every room, we quickly moved the children to the fire station and notified the parents,” said Petersen.

Once their parents picked up all of the children, the CDC staff returned to their building to try and save as much of the furniture, toys and documents as they could.

“We got back to find volunteers from all over the base already there moving items from the CDC to the unoccupied school next door,” said Petersen. “From the time of the flood, through the repairs, and up until our re-opening, we constantly had 20 to 50 volunteers helping us so we could safely open up as soon as possible.”

The CDC re-opened and accepted pre-school age children within two weeks of the initial flood due to the combined effort of CDC staff, the 422d Civil Engineer Squadron, Defense Infrastructure Organization, VIVO and numerous volunteers. The facility reopened and provided care for school age children on July 5, just in time for the beginning of summer break.

"I am so proud of our CDC staff and how they went from protecting our children on the day of the flood to ensuring all the equipment and rooms were back up and ready to provide care again in the facility,” said Lt Col Chris Hergenreter 422d Air Base Squadron commander.

“Additionally, with the 422d CESn working in concert with DIO and VIVO, and the many volunteers from every squadron in the 422d ABG, we were able to open so quickly. The CDC provides care for around 25 families, and when it cannot be open, it has a huge impact on our RAF Croughton Community.”

Several agencies are carefully monitoring the recovery of the CDC to ensure moisture levels, structural integrity, and other parameters are kept well within safe limits.

“Croughton is such a small, tight-knit community that whenever something happens, everyone comes to help,” said Petersen. “We had people from the Communication Squadron, the Security Forces Squadron, and Airmen that don't even have children who just wanted to help; they all came out to help us. It goes to show the community and culture is strong here at RAF Croughton.”