Drawing smiles at Ramstein

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Pens pressed down and smiles rose high at the Rheinland Inn Dining Facility Feb. 8, as eight members of the National Cartoonist Society drew in military members and their families as part of an event sponsored by the United Services Organization.

The National Cartoonist Society is an association that has been drawing sketches and raising morale in the military since World War II.

"I am honored to be part of a tradition that has given back to the military for so long," said Steve Moore, cartoonist. "Our goal is to make people feel something through our work and even though I have partnered with the USO before, it never gets old seeing a service member smile because of something I made for them."

One by one the cartoonists sketched portraits and comic strips while getting to know the service members and their families at the event.

"I think it's great that these guys are willing to take time out of their schedule for us," said 2nd Lt. Alisha Bookman, 786th Force Support Squadron sports and fitness officer in charge. "From military members to families everyone seems to be having a good time, and I am really glad I came out."

For one artist, being on an Air Force base was a wonderful reminder of how cartooning started for him.

"I was a military brat a long time ago and to have the opportunity to step foot on an Air Force base again feels amazing," said Todd Clark, cartoonist. "It reminds me of when I was a kid, I would look through my favorite magazine and be drawn in by their art style and humor. That's where it all started for me."

Though it may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the cartoonists to travel to Germany, it is the impact they left on the service members that will always be remembered.

"It has been so much fun traveling with the guys and coming here," Clark said. "The real joy is having the satisfaction in knowing we made a difference in someone's day. No matter how small it may be I made someone smile today, and it was a lot of fun doing it."

The cartoonists left Ramstein a brighter place as they sketched their way into the hearts of service members and their families with a little black ink, some paper and a lot of cartoonish character.