Air Force Academy cadets help Salvation Army with major upgrade

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Salvation Army’s RJ Montgomery Center was a little noisier than normal Saturday morning.

They’re in the middle of some much-needed upgrades and cadets from the Air Force Academy are lending a hand.

The center’s beds have been in place for over 20 years, but with the help of 30 cadets, nearly 100 people will now sleep on brand new bunk beds.

“There’s a lot of great reasons why we’re replacing the beds,” Major Richard Larson, County Coordinator for the Salvation Army, said. “One is we are going from wood beds to metal beds so, fire [prevention]. One is there’s less places for mitigation of pests.”

Plus, they’ll be easier to clean and create a safer environment.

“And the beds are going to be a little more comfortable. They’re going to have springs in them,” Larson said.

It’s a project that could have taken days but turned into just a few hours’ work, thanks to Cadet David Walker.

It started out as a class project, but became a way for the men and women to impact hundreds of lives.

“It’s definitely a lot bigger than I had planned on initially,” Walker said. “I was just kind of trying to get the project done and it ended up being something really great.”

And his friends didn’t hesitate to help out.

“Even though it’s a free Saturday for us, so people can do a lot of other things, they hear about a good cause like this and absolutely they want to come and volunteer,” Cadet Spencer Johnson said.

“It’s really good to get myself and a couple cadets to just give back to Colorado Springs in a way that we normally wouldn’t really get to do,” Walker said.

“This is not easy work. This is some hard work,” Larson said. “It’s not just taking a bed apart. It’s putting them together and making sure it’s done right. Their work ethic is great.”

The Salvation Army said with the cadets’ help, they’ll be able to add about 13 more beds and will hopefully always have one open for a veteran in need.

“They preach in the Air Force ‘service before self,’ and this is a great way to help our homeless community here and a great organization, the Salvation Army,” Johnson said.

The Salvation Army said right now, they’re working to collect funding to buy new beds for the women’s side. They’re hoping to have that project complete within the next few months.

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