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157 ARW Airmen find deeper meaning through volunteering

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor D. Fiore, 157th Mission Support Group personnel specialist and Tech. Sgt. William J. Cole, 157th Operations Group analyst, present medals to athletes during the New Hampshire Special Olympics Summer Games, June 4, 2016, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H. During the three day event, Airmen cheered and awarded the athletes in the top three categories. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kayla McWalter)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor D. Fiore, 157th Mission Support Group personnel specialist and Tech. Sgt. William J. Cole, 157th Operations Group analyst, present medals to athletes during the New Hampshire Special Olympics Summer Games, June 4, 2016, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H. During the three day event, Airmen cheered and awarded the athletes in the top three categories. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kayla McWalter)

Tech. Sgt. William Cole congratulates and rewards a contestant of the 2016 Summer Special Olympics held at the University of New Hampshire June 4, 2016. Cole was volunteering for the first time at the Olympics where he was encouraging and providing support to all of the 2016 contestants. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Amn. Kayla McWalter)

Tech. Sgt. William Cole congratulates and rewards a contestant of the 2016 Summer Special Olympics held at the University of New Hampshire June 4, 2016. Cole was volunteering for the first time at the Olympics where he was encouraging and providing support to all of the 2016 contestants. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Amn. Kayla McWalter)

Tech. Sgt. William Cole congratulates and rewards a contestant of the 2016 Summer Special Olympics held at the University of New Hampshire June 4, 2016. Cole was volunteering for the first time at the Olympics where he was encouraging and providing support to all of the 2016 contestants. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Amn. Kayla McWalter)

Tech. Sgt. William Cole congratulates and rewards a contestant of the 2016 Summer Special Olympics held at the University of New Hampshire June 4, 2016. Cole was volunteering for the first time at the Olympics where he was encouraging and providing support to all of the 2016 contestants. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Amn. Kayla McWalter)

DURHAM, N.H. -- Each year members from the 157th Air Refueling Wing volunteer their time at the Summer Special Olympics, which are held at the University of New Hampshire.

During this event, the uniformed volunteers offer support and encouragement to the contestants as well as congratulate them on a job well done. 

For U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William J. Cole, 157th Operations Group analyst and Staff Sgt. Taylor D. Fiore, 157th Mission Support Group personnel specialist it was a first time experience that weighed differently for each of them.

"The athletes are genuinely excited to see you," said Fiore, who presented the athletes with their medals. "It's incredible to see that excitement on their faces when they get a medal."

Fiore was joined by Cole in honoring the contestants, but he had a special connection to this event.

Cole had the unique opportunity to not only watch his younger brother compete in the competition but was also grateful to be able to present him with a winning medal.

"I have really enjoyed being able to be here," said Cole. "It's nice to see my brother compete and be part of a much bigger community than I'm used to seeing him be a part of."

Attending the competition allowed Fiore and Cole to see firsthand the importance of volunteering year after year. They knew that being a part of this event meant joining a community and participating in something special that needs to be continued.

Fiore commented that "seeing the love and the passion of this incredible event is amazing, I can't wait to come back!"

Both volunteers intend to return and are excited to build encouraging connections with the contestants.

"We get the chance to be a part of this community and build relationships, I 'm excited to come back next year," Cole said. "Hopefully in years to come Pease can have an even greater presence."