ENID, Okla. — Peralez: ‘It’s just a blast’
On duty, Peralez is a desk sergeant for the 71st Security Forces Squadron, while off duty he works with Our Daily Bread, the soup kitchen operated in downtown Enid by St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, as well as Habitat For Humanity. He helps serve at Our Daily Bread with other members of his squadron, on the second and fourth Fridays of the month, and recruits and assigns volunteers to work on Habitat For Humanity projects.
Since returning from deployment in March 2012, Peralez has taken leave five times to help with his grandfather’s church, San Antonio For Christ Church in San Antonio, which sponsors a halfway house.
“It’s for people straight out of prison trying to kick a drug habit, or overcoming alcohol,” he said.
He also volunteers to work with children at Garfield Elementary School.
Peralez, who wants to cross-train to become a military working dog handler, also volunteers to be the “suspect” subdued by a charging canine during public demonstrations.
“It’s just a blast,” he said. “The kids are so excited.”
On top of that, he and his wife, Jenny, are getting ready to welcome their first child into the world.
Smokovitz: It’s a passion
Smokovitz is a member of the 71st Student Squadron, serves as volunteer coach for an under-16 soccer team in Enid Soccer Club and goes to Taft Elementary School twice a week to work with first-graders.
“We’re doing anything from helping them learn math, to writing sentences, to playing zombie tag with them on recess,” Smokovitz said. “This next week they have a play coming up, so we have been helping them rehearse their lines for that.”
Smokovitz also works at Loaves and Fishes food pantry, but hasn’t had much time to spend there as the wing prepares for the upcoming basewide Consolidated Unit Inspection.
Smokovitz grew up playing soccer and welcomes the opportunity to pass along his love of the game.
“It’s a sport that I’m passionate about, but it’s also about developing a person and helping them grow, just like working at the school,” he said. “It’s more than just the idea of playing a sport. You’re teaching them right and wrong on a soccer field, sportsmanship, teamwork.”