Duke Field Airmen give to dollar tree

  • Published
  • By Michelle Gigante
  • 919th Special Operations Wing

A tradition that began several years ago when a colleague retired and placed one dollar on the office tree now boosts morale for Airmen of the 919th Special Operations Communications Squadron.

Master Sgt. Tanya Moon, 919th SOCS Knowledge Management Center manager received a parting gift from her predecessor when she entered her new role in 2015. Her predecessor, Senior Master Sgt. Denise Doman, gave her the medium-size, artificial tree for the office and attached one dollar to a leaf.

“She wished it to bring me prosperity and happiness,” said Moon. “I coined it the ‘dollar tree’ and it caught on like a wildfire.”

Airmen wanted to contribute and began to attach their own dollar bills.

“It evolved into a ‘giving tree',” explained Moon. “While many come by to visit and donate to the friendly cause, others sometimes come by to take a dollar or two to grab a snack.”

The tree now serves as a community emergency fund and helps members out in a lunch bind.

“One or two dollars might not be big money, but it makes an impact on Airmen here,” said Moon.

While the dollar tree has become a legacy for Airmen in the 919th SOCS, not everyone in the unit knows its history.

“I thought it was a donation for all the cool things Master Sgt. Moon has done for people and she encouraged me to use it every now and then when I needed cash for something in the break room,” said Staff Sgt. Steve Winkler, 919th Special Operations Communications Squadron cyber systems technician.

Winkler now encourages others to use the “giving tree” when they need cash for something in the break room or low on money.

“I feel when you first join the military, you learn about traditions, heritage, and culture, from the top Air Force level,” said Winkler. “But then there are instances such as the small money tree here that show there are even traditions engrained in the immediate Air Force family. I like that it introduces a squadron to a tradition that previous, present, and future Airmen can partake in. I hope in a few years there are more dollars than leaves.”