by Tech. Sgt. George Maddon
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/24/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Wolf
Pack members added the final touches to the Wolf Pack Garden with a
grand opening ceremony in front of the Sonlight Inn April 22.
Volunteers have been steadily working on the garden since March 14, with
the official dedication ceremony culminating their efforts with an
official ribbon cutting and planting the garden's first fruits and
vegetables. "We originally planned to open the garden before Earth Day,"
said Lt. Col. Dwayne "Shepherd" Jones, 8th Fighter Wing chaplain. "When
we realized that Earth Day was just around the corner, we decided to
postpone the official opening because it would be more meaningful to do
it that day."
The first Earth Day, held April 22, 1970, saw the participation of 20
million Americans from all walks of life, and is widely credited with
launching the modern environmental movement. Forty-five years later,
more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each
year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
"I think Earth Day is really symbolic," said Shepherd. "We, as stewards
of the Earth, are planting and giving life and creating great
opportunities for the Wolf Pack."
Before the idea of having a Wolf Pack Garden sprung to life, a small
5-by-5-foot enclosed area containing a few herbs sat in front of the
Sonlight Inn. After the addition of two 13-foot expansions with a base
of gravel and soil, the garden now fits over 150 plants.
"It started just as a small square box in the middle and now we have
something that looks real nice," said Capt. Jordan Kieliszewski, 8th
Medical Operation Squadron mental health element chief. "I'm pleased
with how it looks and the help and support that we have received. A lot
of people over the last month have contributed so much to make this
Komang Goins, Kunsan's Sonlight Inn director, coordinated volunteers to
start the garden and will also organize helpers to maintain it.
"We need to focus on the next steps," said Goins. "About every two weeks
we'll have to coordinate to have people tend the garden by weeding,
watering and preparing for the harvest in the fall."
Although there is more to be done, the work accomplished so far has caught the eyes of many on base.
"People have passed by the garden and I've been watching and waiting for
it to come to this moment," said Shepherd. "The Wolf Pack can see life
growing and what we, as a community, have done. It's very therapeutic
and it's contagious in promoting healthy living."
Tech. Sgt. Crystal Ballard, 8th FW command chief executive assistant,
agreed that gardening is relaxing, but has even more meaning at Kunsan.
"Events like this are great because it allows the Wolf Pack to come
together and be a part of something bigger than themselves," said
Ballard. "It also fosters teamwork and creativity."
The community garden was spurred by Bill Goins, 8th MDOS health
promotion program coordinator, who proposed it as an initiative to
promote healthy eating at the Wolf Pack.
"It has been a long journey to see this project come to fruition," said
Goins. "It is very satisfying to receive the support that we have seen,
and I just hope it adds another layer of improved resilience for Airmen
If you would like to take part in helping build Wolf Pack Garden, contact the 8th FW Chapel at 782-4300.