TSA officers in Nome spend holiday serving community

Monday, December 23, 2019
Holiday dinner

This week is the climax of the holiday season, and many of us will spend time over the next few days with our loved ones, time that will include lots of food. It’s also a time to remember people who may not be as fortunate as us.

Several TSA officers at Alaska’s Nome Airport (OME) gave back to their community in a big way at Thanksgiving by preparing and serving a holiday meal for 250 people.

“We, as a group, wanted to give back and serve our community here in Nome,” said supervisory TSA officer Mario Black.


Black was among seven officers who brought smiles, energy and positive attitudes to everyone who attended – from small children to village elders. Other servers included officers Austin Martino, Raynard Upson, Debra Dilkes, Loren Turner, Tiffany Ayler and Marie Balamou.

Team OME not only served the community dinner at a local church, but was also able to network and bond with many people they didn’t know.

“It was wonderful to help,” Black said. “Giving back to any community I live in is a blessing. The atmosphere, gratitude and heartfelt thank yous were amazing. It truly was a blessing to assist those in need because everyone at some point will need the assistance of someone else.”

Similar to TSA’s partnership with stakeholders, Black views the holiday dinner as a partnership with the community.  

“To me, this ties us with the community and makes us closer,” he said. “While performing our duties, I think it will help with our “See Something, Say Something” mantra by us networking within our own community.”

Black encourages each of us to spend time volunteering. “The experience is amazing,” he said, “and you won’t regret it.”