Unlimited Potential

  • Published
  • By Maj. Roxy Hambleton
  • 482nd Force Support Squadron

If you ever find yourself at the Homestead Air Reserve Base Community Activity Center you may see a whirlwind that goes by the name of “Ms. Carolyn” hurry by. If you do, just let her be. She is on a mission!


Carolyn Hollowell is triple hatted in a job that takes three. She is the services business management specialist, the human resources officer liaison, and the contracting officer for the 482nd Force Support Squadron’s Services Flight. But if you know “Ms. Carolyn,” you know she can handle it.


But it’s not what she does that makes her stand out, but how far she came to get there. Hollowell began working at HARB in 1997 as a food service worker busing tables and washing dishes. Twenty-one years later she is overseeing the entire operation.


Her co-worker, Cori Johnson, fitness specialist/recreation assistant at the Sam Johnson Fitness Center, has known Hollowell for 15 years.


“Ms. Carolyn is hardworking, competent, and dependable,” said Johnson. “She’s always striving for perfection and I can tell you that she puts her heart and soul into everything she does.”


Two years after arriving at HARB, Hollowell transferred to lodging but then returned back to the dining hall to be the central cashier. In 2010, she became a business management specialist. This was a big jump from being a cashier but she was chosen because, even as a cashier, she took on extra duties, additional responsibilities, and became the go-to person who had answers or could do the research to get answers. She understudied the business manager and was the obvious choice to succeed in that position.


“She is the only Services Flight employee who can run every single activity under Services from lodging to the fitness center to the kitchen to the admin office,” said Chief Master Sgt. Katdo Robinson, who has known Hollowell for almost 20 years. "Ms. Carolyn’s truly multifaceted.”


“She takes pride in coming to work and doing her part to make this country better,” said Robinson. “She rolls out the carpet for ‘her boys’ whether it be at the dining hall, the gym, or lodging. She wants to make their experience at Homestead the best one she can.”


In order to be eligible for the promotion to business manager, she returned to school and earned her accounting degree. The degree was paid for through a non-appropriated funds program that works to educate employees in their career field to enhance their skills and capabilities. With that degree, she was able to qualify for the promotion she wanted.


Her responsibilities are innumerable, but include: Overview of all CAC finances, closing out funds at the end of the month, control of the central 482nd FSS NAF account, oversight of all financial statements; job announcements for all NAF employees, hiring and placing new employees, and writing all the NAF contracts for such things as entertainment, individual services, civilian acts, and food vendors.


She also inputs inventory activities which includes the gym, outdoor recreation, lodging, the CAC, the barber shop, and Blazin’ Beans Coffee Shop. She has oversight of the 482nd FSS’s central account of more than $49,000 in NAF monies.


During Homestead’s very successful Wings Over Homestead Air and Space Show last month, she took over a job two weeks before the event. A job that usually requires a year of planning; Carolyn performed it flawlessly.


“I had the pleasure of working alongside her during the air show,” said Johnson. “We worked the central cash cage and she really stepped up and displayed her skills in problem solving and troubleshooting. I’ve never seen anything like it!”


Her work did not go unnoticed. Col. David Piffarerio, 482nd Fighter Wing Commander, coined her after the event for her selflessness and hard work.


From washing dishes to where she is today, Hollowell attributes her success to wanting to be a part of giving back to her country.


“It’s an honor to be able to serve and give to the Airmen who put their lives on the line for their country,” said Hollowell. “It’s the least I can do to show my appreciation.”