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The Fertig Family expresses their joy reflects on a year of joy after signing up for the ‘Adopt an Airman’ program

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 6:47 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Around the fall of 2019, the Fertig family signed up for the ‘Adopt an Airman WYO’ program. They adopted three airmen, all coming from different locations. The Fertig family includes parents Shannon and Denise Fertig, along with their four children: Sheridan (senior, East High School), Stockton (sophomore, East High School), Sterling (seventh grade, Carey Junior High), Shaylee (fourth grade, homeschooling).

The program is hosted by the Millitary Affairs Committee of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce. Host families are matched with airmen who share common interest. The goal of the program is to offer a home away from home for the airmen, giving them a home outside the military base.

For the Fertig family, we asked them a few questions regarding their experience being a host family.

-QUESTION: What sparked the inspiration to take part in this program?

“When I heard about the program, immediately I thought of our own children,” Denise Fertig answered. “If they were far away from home, maybe the loneliness, not knowing anybody, I thought I would love for a family to take them in and show them support.”

-QUESTION: What makes this program important?

“It’s definitely important to have that family gathering, even during the pandemic because people get really lonely, and so we try to have them over as much as possible,” Sheridan Fertig answered.

-QUESTION: How has your family atmosphere changed, since adopting three airmen?

“It’s kind of like they’ve become a part of our family,” Stockton Fertig answered. “It’s just like adding a person to your family. We have several airmen and I feel like each one of them are good influences and like a brother to me.”

“It’s just a great time with them because they make it not like a regular fight, but more fun and exciting,” Sterling Fertig answered.

-QUESTION: What influence do the airmen bring to the household?

“They have changed my life in particularly, they’re very inspiring to me, they’re like a mentor to me, and they’re just very kind,” Shaylee Fertig answered.

“They’re a good influence, they’re really good guys. They inspire me to be a better person.”-Sheridan Fertig.

“From their standpoint, I think they’re very, very appreciative of it,” Shannon Fertig answered. “We’ve certainty as a family have benefited from their support as well.”

-QUESTION: Is bringing awareness to this program more important now than years past, due to the pandemic?

“These young airmen need support because they are away from their families and a lot of time they can’t travel now, or they’ve been quarantined. It’s been a wonderful friendship and relationship that we made with them that I would say could probably last a lifetime, and so were really, really thrilled with that. We received more than what we thought we ever would. The impact is a life-long opportunity that would really bless anybody that’s willing to be a part of it.” -Denise Fertig.

The program currently has 114 airmen matched with over 60 families. However, roughly 40 airmen are still waiting to be matched. For more information to request an application, email adoptanairmanwyo@gmali.com.

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