Committed to improving the communities in which we live, work and play, Willmeng Construction’s involvement with Fighter Country Foundation (FCF), a nonprofit organization supporting families and programs no longer receiving funds at Luke Air Force Base, has grown over the years to include various sponsorships and construction projects.
Following the successful fire station renovation at Luke AFB, which was featured on CBS5 in 2017, Willmeng completed another renovation project on the base in June and later celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
When Willmeng’s Project Manager Tom Fyffe first inspected the Flight Line Kitchen at Luke AFB, he saw an abundance of issues ranging from drywall deficiencies, electrical shortages and a leaky roof. “Right then and there our team identified that we needed to take care of this for the men and women here at the base,” Fyffe said.
FCF collected donations and funded the project improvements. The foundation hired Willmeng to give the flight line crew a new ramada; what they didn’t know was that Willmeng planned to go above and beyond on repairs in order to make the best possible (and functional) resting area for the crew.
Located in Glendale and home to more than 8,000 active-duty military personnel, Luke AFB ranks as one of the largest aircraft bases in the world with flight line crew members working daily to secure and repair aircraft. With more than 300 days of sunlight in Arizona, the Flight Line Kitchen serves as the only opportunity throughout the day for those team members to escape the heat during their shift breaks. A lack of facility maintenance such as rotting roof shingles in the exterior ramada and other issues eventually led the flight line crew to sit outside of the old facility on a curb to eat their lunches.
Projects like this are typically not addressed due to military budget cuts, but are exactly where FCF comes in. With fundraising events such as their annual Golf Classic, FCF aims to support those who work at the base by giving back through projects that will impact their daily lives.
“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” Fyffe said. “But we knew what we had to do in order to make it happen for these military members, and to leave the job with a smile on our face.”
Willmeng teamed up with multiple subcontractors including Three Phase Electric, Adobe Drywall, Star Roofing, and True View Glass, which were able to donate or discount much of the work. “These companies participated because they cared about who we were helping with this project. It’s not just about the jobs and the money, we really care about the work that we do,” Fyffe said.
Working through obstacles such as restricted access to the base and limited budget, Fyffe said that team communication is what lead the project to be a success.
After having served for nine years in the Marine Corps, Fyffe joined the Willmeng team in 2016. Now, as one of the primary liaisons between Willmeng and Luke AFB, he’ll be heading up future projects, including an updated guard mount room, childcare center and remodel of the base’s leadership school.
“When I look at the Flight Line, I see nothing but morale. This building was an opportunity to have the crew come in and enjoy their break. When you’re in the military, it’s the little things that really allow you to have a smile on your face,” Fyffe said.
Willmeng team members involved on the project included:
Cody Phelan – Project Executive
Phil Amezquita – Project Engineer
Craig Waymire – Project Engineer
Mike Pickering – Project Superintendent
Renee Hurtado – Construction Administrator
Thomas Fyffe – Project Manager