By Senior Airman Alexa Culbert, Maxwell Public Affairs
/ Published December 21, 2017
Lt. Col. Paul Cancino, 82nd Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, and staff from the Montgomery Humane Society receive a giant check for 5,000 dollars from the Petco Foundation, Dec. 14, 2017, Montgomery, Ala. Cancino was a winner of the Petco Foundation's Holiday Wishes contest on behalf of the Montgomery Humane Society.The money will go toward providing services to the animals at the shelter. (Courtesy Photo)
Squadron Officer College alumni demonstrated just how lasting the ties between Air University and the local community can be.
Lt. Col. Paul Cancino, 82nd Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, traveled all the way from his current duty station, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to support and say hello to old friends.
Back in 2010 was the first time he volunteered with the Montgomery Humane Society, he was a student at SOC and had gone along with a group of his classmates for a volunteer project.
Steven Tears, Montgomery Humane Society executive director said the large groups of volunteers that come from the Maxwell have a dramatic impact on their mission at the shelter.
He said it’s nice to have a group of individuals with whom he gives a task and knows he can walk away and without a doubt it’s going to be completed and they always exceed any expectations.
It wasn’t long after Cancino began volunteering at the shelter that he fell in love, not only with the work, but with a pup, whom he named Texas Pork chop.
After learning firsthand the joy that comes from having a pet, Cancino was hooked and dedicated to the mission at the Montgomery Humane Society.
“I had such a positive experience with my dog, I wanted to share that with other people,” he said.
His role at the animal shelter began slowly with just walking and cleaning up after the animals, but it quickly became a passion for him.
“It was a stress relief, because doing Air Force stuff all week long and all of the deployments, I wanted to something that gave back, but wasn’t directly tied back to the Air Force,” he said.
Cancino laughs and reassures that he loves the Air Force, but it was liberating to use the skills he learned in the Air Force in a new way.
Using the leadership skills he learned from the Air Force, Cancino took charge in giving the animals their best shot at finding a home.
He said he made a point to greet everyone who walked through the door and help them make the right decisions for themselves and the animals.
Tears teased that Cancino would have a promising career in car sales if he ever decides to leave the Air Force.
Unfortunately, the military lifestyle never allows someone to stay in one spot for too long and Cancino received orders to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.
Four years and three duty stations later, Cancino has continued to volunteer at the local community animal shelters wherever he goes, and even checks up on the Montgomery Humane Society from time to time.
Earlier this year, he entered into the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes contest, submitting a 500 word essay on how he met his dog, Texas Pork chop.
Cancino did not realize the impact his submission into the contest would have on the Montgomery Humane Society, the fated place he met his beloved pup.
He won and was presented a giant check for 5,000 dollars during the contest award presentation, Dec. 14, 2017, Montgomery, Alabama, which will all go toward the Montgomery Humane Society.
Tears said Cancino is an amazing individual and is appreciative of what he and the other volunteers do for the shelter.
“He’s just an amazing man who has a passion for our mission, passion for animals and you can see it the moment he walks through the door,” he said.