16th Air Force Airmen mentor youth during San Antonio-area DreamWeek Luncheon

  • Published
  • By Sharon Singleton
  • 16th Air Force
Martin Luther King, Jr. day has passed, but several 16th Air Force Airmen extended the vision of his dream to students in the San Antonio community during a DreamWeek event hosted by the Cibolo Enrichment Foundation, Jan. 18.

 Curtis Lindesay, 16th Air Force member and founder of the Cibolo Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization, offered all members of 16th Air Force the opportunity to discuss their career fields, educate, and discuss future career options to more than 15 Cibolo Independent School District students. Maj. Justin Kulm, Master Sgt. Bryan Montgomery and Technical Sgt. Brian Smith joined the mentoring lunch event. 

“The Air Force and the military as an organization have always led the country in diversity, equality, and the essence of what a Dr. King “Dream” society should look like.  While no society is perfect, the Air Force has a system of balance that is based on truth and integrity.  It was important that the Air Force [come] out to this event and show that a society like that exists and functions efficiently in America,” said Lindesay.

Kulm, Montgomery, and Smith engaged with students who ranged from freshman to seniors and represented the diverse culture of Cibolo, a community outside of San Antonio.

“It was a pleasure to speak to an audience of individuals that showed interest in joining the military and to connect with those that are interested in cyberspace operations or commissioning as an officer,” said Kulm, 16th Air Force cyberspace operations planner. “The military offers similar careers as the commercial sector; however, the military provides unique opportunities for those careers, e.g. Judge Advocate General.”

As the 16th Air Force’s diversity and inclusion chief, Montgomery knows the importance of presenting opportunities to students at every level and helping them realize their dreams.

”Speaking with the students was important because we could give them a different view of the military. Many teenagers know what they want to do, but sometimes don't know how to get there,” said Montgomery. “Being able to mentor the students and share our personal experiences, without any pressure, allowed us to create an environment where they could be themselves.”
The diverse volunteers for this year’s event included teachers, doctors, lawyers, and 16th Air Force members. Smith, 16th Air Force non-commissioned officer in charge of the Commander’s Action Group explained to students the various opportunities existing in the Air Force and the 16th Air Force.  

“Getting the chance to speak to kids is important because they are the future. Acting as a liaison for the military, in a non-recruiting capacity, allowed me to listen to the students' goals and ambitions,” said Smith.   

Lindesay values the dreams of the communities’ youth and has made achieving their dreams part of his foundation’s core functions.

“I believe that it is important that my generation, who were the first to receive the knowledge and wisdom of Dr. King’s dream, continue to nurture the next generations after us to pursue their dreams. My generation were highly encouraged to do more than our parents by seeking higher education and dreaming big,” said Lindesay. “The professionals and I that came today have become examples of how following your dreams to reality is possible. This generation needs to see and talk to those examples. This event allows them to meet living, successful dream chasers.”

Students took turns speaking with mentors, were provided brochures, job information and were served a hot meal during the 2-hour luncheon.  The event concluded with a scholarship opportunity provided by a local sponsor.

Lindesay attributes his 28 years of military, and now his civilian service in the 16th Air Force, to his dream of building the Cibolo Enrichment Foundation and empowering youth in the community.

“I have been blessed to serve 28 years in the military.  At the end of my military career, I felt the need to give back to my community.  So, I started at home in Cibolo.  I asked city leaders what the needs of the city were.  I created the Cibolo Enrichment Foundation to find programs to meet the needs of my community.  The foundation core values are Partnership, Empowerment, Community, Knowledge.  Through these values is how I give back the knowledge and wisdom that was given to me,” said Lindesay.