Giving Back to our Community
By Lt. Col. Catherine Hutson, 174th Attack Wing
/ Published June 13, 2013
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York -- Hancock Field and Community leaders gathered together on April 24, 2013 to recognize leaders selected by Leadership Greater Syracuse (LGS) during their annual Distinguished Community Leader Awards luncheon. This is the first year LGS selected an Alumni Achievement award winner nominated by fellow LGS graduates. The Wing was proud to learn that Lt. Col. Edward Cook was selected from a very strong pool of candidates. Lt. Col. Cook, 174th Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander, is a LGS 2010 graduate who actively gives back to the Syracuse area.
During his acceptance speech Lt. Col. Cook reflected on the day that the 174th Fighter Wing Commander, Major General Knauff, recommended he consider helping out the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau Committee back in 1998. He remarked to the crowd, "if anyone here knows General Knauff, you know you cannot turn him down." This opportunity was the beginning of Lt. Col. Cook's tenure as the logistics lead for all food and toy distribution. Over the past 15 years more than 87,000 children have benefited from his leadership during this huge annual holiday event.
In addition to his involvement with the Salvation Army, Lt. Col. Cook is also an ARISE Foundation Board Member and the Chair of the Annual Giving Committee. To date, he and his colleagues have raised over $52,000 to expand the non-profit therapeutic horse riding program. Charity work has become a family activity as Lt. Col. Cooks' wife Svea and children Teddy and Emily are routinely involved in the ARISE and Salvation Army events.
Members of the 174th Attack Wing may recall that Lt. Col. Cook was recently selected as the New York State Organized Militia Colonel Governour Morris Award recipient for outstanding support to the National Guard and the local community. He sets the example for balancing a demanding military career, family life and community support.
His military accomplishments include deploying eight times in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, SOUTHERN WATCH and NOBLE EAGLE. He was recently awarded the prestigious Bronze Star for his service as the J4 Director, Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command- Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Cook was the Top Air Graduate from the United Kingdom Joint Advanced Command and Staff College, a graduate from the Central New York Political Leadership Institute and long-time Base Honor Guard Commander.
When asked about the importance of the LGS Alumni Achievement Award he stated that he was honored to be recognized and to represent the 174th Attack Wing's contributions to our neighbors. He humbly pointed out that, "most people will get involved when afforded the opportunity. I encourage everyone to grab the guy next to them and get them involved. It quickly becomes an integral part of life!"
Please join Lt. Col. Cook at the Third Annual ARISE & Ride at the Farm on July 27, 2013 as community members cycle and play in support of the year-round inclusive recreation programs offered at ARISE at the Farm. Details can be found at www.ariseinc.org.