Volunteers build Yukla widow better home

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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