Pine Bluff Arsenal kicked off their fall Combined Federal Campaign Oct. 4 at the Arsenal's Community Club with a special breakfast program, songs from the Jenkins Memorial Choir, and guest speaker Normal Gilchrest.

The program began with an invocation by Amelio Howard from the Arsenal's Directorate of Information Management, special music from the Jenkins Memorial Choir, a light breakfast provided by the Bluff Center Chapter of Federally Employed Women. The Arsenal's Child Development Center pre-school group led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

"This morning, Heavenly Father, we truly come to say thank you for what you have done in our lives and what you are doing for us in our lives. We thank you for salvation. Please give us the giving spirit for those that are in need," said Howard. "We thank you for our leadership and our commander. Please bless them and our leaders all over this land and country."

Welcoming everyone to the kickoff, Arsenal Commander Col. David Musgrave, said that we wanted to thank everyone who organized the event. "I know there are people here that are not from the installation, and I want to acknowledge their presence here today," he said, as he introduced people from the various agencies and organizations that are a part of the CFC.

"We appreciate you being here today. We know it is a big effort but a worthy cause," said Musgrave. "As the Jenkins Choir was singing, I had to reflect. I have been in the military nearly 27 years and have participated in the CFC drive ever since I was a private. I made it personal because my older brother at that time had kidney disease."

Musgrave went on to tell the story of his brother and how he contributes to the American Kidney Foundation. "This is the one time during the year where all federal workers are given the opportunity to give," he said. "Everything is laid out for you. You can see who you are giving to and even see how much money is going towards administrative costs in an organization. You know how many of your dollars are truly going to that cause. I think it is great that we are given this opportunity to give."

The Arsenal's 2013 goal for CFC is $50,000. In 2012, according to figures from Laura Hiserodt, CFC coordinator, PBA and their tenant employees contributed $97, 378.94 against a goal of $50,000.

The CFC, which began in the early 1960s, is one of only two fund drives allowed on U.S. Army installations during work hours. It affords all employees an opportunity to contribute to one or more charitable, humanitarian or medical research organizations at a local or national level. Federal employees continue to make the CFC the largest and most successful workplace philanthropic fundraiser in the world. Last year, CFC of Greater Arkansas gave $1,006,557.04 and $272 million was given worldwide.

A retired postal worker with over 33 years of government service, and member of the Arkansas Air National Guard, Gilchrest thanked Musgrave for his introduction. "The thing I like is that I have gotten to speak to lot of people across my careers. I really like talking to people in Arkansas because this is home," he said. "You are so blessed to be in Arkansas. And, I especially like to talk to people in the South."

He said that he knew that people were there that morning to make a difference. "First, let's talk about teamwork, leadership and success. When we talk about team work, we think about team building and the needs of others," said Gilchrist.

"When we think about the CFC, we have to have compassion for others, and all those agencies that are represented. Courage is needed to do something about it and take action. We need to give to those organizations that do the job that is necessary."

Leadership can lead people to a common cause, said Gilchrist. "We are all leaders," he said. "Muhammad Ali says our 'rent' for staying on this Earth is helping others. We are all in this together."