Volunteers build Yukla widow better home

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Members of a volunteer group drill new footings that will hold up the new porch to Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer house. Bramer is the widow of Tech. Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Members of a volunteer group drill new footings that will hold up the new porch to Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer house. Bramer is the widow of Tech. Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Senior Airman John Orosz, 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, clears a space for the new porch in the Bramer's back yard. Orosz is with a group of volunteers helping rebuild Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer's home. The home has fallen into disrepair over the years. Bramer is the widow of Tech. Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman Jack Sanders)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Senior Airman John Orosz, 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, clears a space for the new porch in the Bramer's back yard. Orosz is with a group of volunteers helping rebuild Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer's home. The home has fallen into disrepair over the years. Bramer is the widow of Tech. Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman Jack Sanders)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The Bramer house stands in its state before any construction or volunteer work was done to it. Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer is the widow of Tech Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The Bramer house stands in its state before any construction or volunteer work was done to it. Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer is the widow of Tech Sgt. Mark Bramer who died in the Yukla 27 crash. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The volunteer group finishes demolishing and removing nails from the remnants of the old fence and begins mowing the back yard and starting demolition of the porch. The group gave their free time on Aug. 23 and 24 to help out an Air Force Guardsman and her family. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The volunteer group finishes demolishing and removing nails from the remnants of the old fence and begins mowing the back yard and starting demolition of the porch. The group gave their free time on Aug. 23 and 24 to help out an Air Force Guardsman and her family. (courtesy photo)

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A group of volunteers have gotten together to aid in the repairs to the home of Tech. Sgt. Mary Bramer and her two sons Michel and Timothy.

Bramer is a widow of a U.S. servicemember who passed away in the Yukla 27 crash of 1995. Tech. Sgt. Mark Bramer, flight engineer on the Yukla 27, passed away when the aircraft crashed just after takeoff.

Yukla 27 was airborne at 0745:29 on the morning of Sept. 22, 1995. Just a short while later at 0746:43 the copilot declared an emergency to the control tower. At 0747:11 Yukla 27 crashed just a short distance away from where it began its mission. Giving the ultimate sacrifice to their countries, 24 U.S. and Canadian Airmen lost their lives.

Since that day Mary Bramer has been a single mother while finishing school and serving her country as a Air National Guard member.

Over the years while she's been busy serving her country and taking care of her sons, their home has fallen into disrepair.

"The roof needs repaired, if not replaced," said concerned neighbor and retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Puerner. "The porch has fallen down and the fence has long since fallen down."

The volunteer team began repairs to the home Aug. 23 with the demolition and repair of the fence. "She needed help and you should always help if you have the ability," said Emily Puerner, daughter of David Puerner.

The team continued repairs the next afternoon by re-building the porch. Most of the porch is being recycled. The volunteers plan to begin roof work Aug. 29. The roof is a top priority to be finished before winter begins in Anchorage. "You could fall through the roof if you stepped in the wrong spot," said David Puerner.

Currently there's an estimate of more than $10,000 that needs to be raised to help with repairs. Former and current AWACS squadron members, members of the Alaska Air National Guard and as well as other sources have donated to the cause. The largest donation made so far was from The Carter's Commando, paintball team, but there is still a long way to go.

Individuals making donations will receive charitable contribution credit for their donation. "Chief Ron Davis and I are on the board of the Filipino Bible Church. Filipino Bible Church has made this a benevolence project," said David Puerner. This means that donations made to the project are eligible to be claimed on the following year tax return.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the volunteer team won't rest until the job is finished. "It's a good opportunity to get out and help people," said Bryce Mahn, a member of the volunteer group. "We're all going to get to that point when we need help someday."

It's been 14 years since the Yukla 27 crash, but for the families affected there is a community willing and able to help.

To make donations or to find out volunteering details contact David Puerner at (907) 244-0358 or e-mail at herkloader1@yahoo.com.
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