Anonymous Donor Brings Airmen Holiday Cheers, Sense of Being Home Away from Home
By Hien Q. Vu, Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
/ Published January 08, 2010
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Ohio State University football fans were exuberant once the final seconds ticked off the game clock: their beloved Buckeyes had restored their swagger, and thus their rightful place as champions, by beating Oregon University 26-17 in the 2010 Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, Calif.
Among those delighted Buckeyes fans were two Los Angeles Air Force Base Airmen and their spouses whose attendance at the game was made possible by the generous donation of an OSU employee who wishes to remain anonymous. The donor, an extension educator with the University, offered two pairs of highly-coveted Rose Bowl Game tickets complete with parking passes to displaced Buckeyes stationed here.
It turns out the donor has surprisingly close ties with the base and the Air Force. A granddaughter, daughter and sister of career service members, the donor used to live in Hawthorne, Calif., when her father, a senior Air Force Captain then, was stationed at the Space and Missile Systems Organization, predecessor of the current Space and Missile Systems Center.
"His favorite claim to fame was having worked on the Atlas/Ranger project during that time and hitting the back of the moon with one," she lamented. "He used to say, 'Anyone can hit the front of the moon.' Rocket geek humor, I guess.
"He passed away this past summer at the age of 84, and my lovely little mother only survived him by a week. They are now together forever after 61 years of marriage."
This donation was not her first. In 2008, a Barksdale Airman also received tickets from the same donor to the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game between OSU and Louisiana State University at the Superdome in New Orleans. "We get a substantial bit of holiday cheer from imagining the recipients of our football tickets," she said.
The Los Angeles AFB Airmen who received this year's gifts had their holiday cheers just as well. Capt. Kevin Mauersberg, Spacelift Range Acquisition Manager with the Launch and Range Systems Wing, and Capt. Andrew Peterson, Contracting Officer with the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, are both OSU alumni who had the opportunity to celebrate the New Year with thousands of other Buckeyes fans.
"As the youngest of five children, all graduates of The Ohio State University, I was extremely thrilled with the chance to see my beloved Buckeyes win the Rose Bowl," said Captain Mauersberg. "Pasadena is a beautiful city; the venue, tailgating, weather and the fans were perfect. I am sincerely grateful to the generous donor of the tickets and parking pass for this opportunity. I rarely make it home anymore, but for one glorious day that's exactly how I felt - I felt like being home again."
Captain Peterson echoed that sentiment. "I have been away from Ohio since I graduated (and commissioned into the Air Force) from The Ohio State University in 2002," he said. "We have missed attending the games and seeing all the Buckeye faithful in Scarlet and Gray! It was amazing to see the turnout of Ohio State fans, especially because we were able to witness it firsthand. Being at the game was like coming back to Columbus. It was awesome to be part of the long Buckeye tradition of attending the Rose Bowl and watching the Big 10 vs. the Pac-10! Of course, it was even sweeter that the Buckeyes pulled off a thrilling victory. Our family would like to thank our donor so much for the opportunity to attend the Rose Bowl. It was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we will never forget!"