505 CCW Airmen help Meals on Wheels continue meals to seniors during pandemic

Posted on May 14, 2020 by Staff reports


Okaloosa County’s Meals on Wheels is an organization that depends on volunteers to prepare, package, and deliver food every day to individuals belonging to the program.  The 505th Command and Control Wing’s (CCW) Airmen have proudly been involved with the program and delivering meals for over 15 years.

Airman First Class Ishmael Ottman assigned to the 505th Combat Training Squadron (CTS), started out delivering meals in fall of 2018 three months later, he became the 505 CCW’s Meals on Wheels’ volunteer scheduler. “We usually deliver meals on Wednesdays to seniors, two or three times a month, other squadrons and volunteers help out with other days.” When COVID-19 restrictions began, A1C Ottman asked Ms. Lorraine LaCroix, director of Okaloosa’s Meals on Wheels, if she needed additional help with deliveries; she had all the help she needed to cover all her Fort Walton Beach and Niceville deliveries.

Many Meals on Wheels’ recipients are isolated in their homes “all day, every day,” and appreciate the food and interaction.  Ms. LaCroix also noted that her location provides approximately 95 daily meals in the Fort Walton Beach and 17 in Niceville, the Crestview location manages their meal counts and delivery for their area.

“We will continue doing the program for as long as it’s around,” said Ottman.   We have 15 recurring volunteers within the 505 CCW that serve year-round. When asked why he helps with Meals on Wheels, Airman First Class Jaron Degraffenried, 505 CTS, said because “I like to serve people.” 

Okaloosa Elder Services continue preparing meals during COVID-19 restrictions, and Airmen continue their deliveries.  Ms. LaCroix said they currently have enough volunteers for their Fort Walton Beach/Niceville meals; the Meals on Wheels program welcomes food and monetary donations, contact Ms. Lorraine LaCroix at (850) 833-9165.