By Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous 92nd Air Refueling Wing
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., October 27, 2015 — Air Force Tech. Sgt. Noel Hatchel is so passionate about basketball that any reward beyond giving back to others is unnecessary.
The 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron training and validation office noncommissioned officer in charge has been a volunteer coach for as long as he can remember, and he recently received an unexpected reward.
"Last year in November, I originally volunteered for the girls’ head basketball coach position [at Medical Lake High School in Medical Lake, Washington]," Hachtel said. The position for the girls’ team had been filled, but Hachtel was told if he still wanted to coach he could co-coach the varsity team and head coach the freshman team.
His love for basketball guided him to take the position as a volunteer -- or so he thought, he said.
"The school called in early December and said they had a check for me," Hachtel explained. "I was shocked, to say the least."
Sharing the Wealth
Instead of keeping the money for himself, though, he used the money to buy new basketballs for each team member, new warmup uniforms, T-shirts and, on occasion, lunches during away games.
"We would play little games in practice to motivate them, [and] I would have cheeseburgers for whoever made a basket or could make a certain shot," Hachtel said. "I strictly thought I was volunteering, and when I found out I was getting paid, I decided to give the money back to the kids."
Justin Blayne, one of the Medical Lake coaches, said most coaches wouldn't have done what Hachtel did, and he is clearly about helping young people succeed and providing opportunities do so.
Hachtel was spending at least 18 hours a week with the teams, not including the practice and game prep, in addition to his full-time Air Force job and family responsibilities.
"Noel's unselfishness has impacted the team and players in a positive manner," Blayne said. "Put simply, everyone who interacts with him understands that he cares about helping young people grow as basketball players and people."