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Connecticut Flying Yankee volunteer makes a difference

An impressive collection of bottles and cans is stacked against a fence on base at the home of the 103rd Airlift Wing’s Flying Yankees in East Granby, Conn., in late 2015. The bags are stacked in preparation for pickup and exchange for deposit reimbursement. Five years ago, Master Sgt. Nicola Nardi coordinated the first pick-up of recycled bottles and, since then, Nardi estimates that the collections from the base equate to about $1,000 per year being donated to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as part of the nonprofit Cans for Kids program. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Nicola Nardi)

An impressive collection of bottles and cans is stacked against a fence on base at the home of the 103rd Airlift Wing’s Flying Yankees in East Granby, Conn., in late 2015. The bags are stacked in preparation for pickup and exchange for deposit reimbursement. Five years ago, Master Sgt. Nicola Nardi coordinated the first pick-up of recycled bottles and, since then, Nardi estimates that the collections from the base equate to about $1,000 per year being donated to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as part of the nonprofit Cans for Kids program. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Nicola Nardi)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- Reduce, reuse, recycle! That's the motto of this environmentally-friendly generation, but at one point, the Flying Yankees were not doing all they could to both help others and the environment. This was until Master Sgt. Nicola Nardi, fuel distribution specialist with the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, coordinated with Gary Raffia, leader of the local program "Cans for Kids". Cans for Kids is a nonprofit program that collects used bottles and cans and donates the money from the bottle deposits to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
     Five years ago, Nardi coordinated the first pick-up of recycled bottles and cans with Jeff Tingle, who said that it was a much larger pickup than usually received from other organizations. Since then, Nardi estimates that the collections from the base equate to about $1,000 per year being donated to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. The program is a win-win for both the base, which saves money by not having to discard the bottles and cans, and for the children receiving treatment at the medical center. Nardi collects the cans on his own time Sundays after drill weekends and weekdays before work, and coordinates pickups quarterly. He encourages that, if you have a Cans for Kids bin in your building and it is full, he be sent an email to let him know at mailto:nicola.nardi.mil@mail.mil.
     Nardi also hopes that there will soon be funding for more bins and bin bags so that the program can expand across the base, maximizing the amount of bottles and cans donated. Please make sure to only put emptied bottles and cans into the Cans for Kids bins so they do not have to sort through excess waste. If you are coordinating an event on base, keep in mind to obtain Cans for Kids bins to be put out at your event so that any containers used are discarded properly and can be donated.
     Master Sgt. Nardi is humble with his work and the donation of his time. "It could be bigger than it is if the word is out there--base participation is important," said Nardi. "It's not just me, my involvement is limited to when I get about 20 bags or more to be picked up."
     According to Nardi, the most helpful thing you can do is to encourage your peers to make use of the Cans for Kids bins and remember to let him know when your bins are full.  Help the environment, help a child and help your unit--don't forget to recycle your bottles and cans!