Soldiers give back during food drive
Pfc. Olivia Vincent, Pfc. Julianne Prevost and Pfc. Keshia Calhoun, all of A Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, donate bags of food items into carts outside of the Fort Rucker Commissary July 20. Class 13-018 of the Basic Officer Leaders Course hosted the food drive to replenish the Fort Rucker Food Locker's stock of holiday foods to benefit Soldiers and Families in need.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 25, 2013) -- Thousands of Soldiers and Family members pass through the doors of the Fort Rucker Commissary every week, and one class of Soldiers took advantage of the high-traffic area to help take care of their own.

Soldiers of Class 13-018 of the Basic Officer Leaders Course stood in the humid Alabama heat July 20 to host a food drive in conjunction with the commissary to benefit the Fort Rucker Food Locker.

Close to 50 people from the class worked in shifts throughout the day to hand out flyers and collect different canned and non-perishable food items to benefit Soldiers and Family members in need.

"The Army is an organization that seeks to make sure that all the needs of (every Soldier and Family member) are being met," said 2nd Lt. Matthew Udderman, D Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment. "If a Soldier doesn't have the basic items that they need to support their Family, they're not going to be able to accomplish their mission while on the job, overseas or wherever they need to go.

"This takes care of the basic needs so that we can focus on the bigger picture," he continued. "I think proper food nutrition is one of the (major) needs on the (basic) hierarchy of needs. If you don't take care of that, then you won't be able to properly function (in your duties)."

As people entered the commissary, they were greeted by Soldiers who volunteered their free time to let people know about the need to replenish the Fort Rucker Food Locker.

Any non-perishable foods were welcomed, but specifically the food drive hoped to replenish the food locker's stock of holiday foods, such as yams, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, canned fruit and canned gravy, and according to 2nd Lt. Aaron Olson, D Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt, who helped lead the charge, the food drive was a complete success.

Olson said preliminary estimates show that the food drive collected anywhere from 500-1,000 pounds of food and that the support from the community was overwhelmingly positive.

"If you can (ask of) these people who might have extra resources to help somebody else, it's beneficial obviously for the person receiving it, but there's also definitely some satisfaction that can be had for the person that is giving as well," he said. "When you've been put in a privileged position, you definitely have the resources and time available to help organize something like this."

Arrie Bernard, Army spouse, was among those who donated and said that her decision to do so was a necessary one.

"It's about supporting our military and supporting the different units and whatever they're trying to achieve," she said. "It's important for morale and supporting each other. If I was in that position I would love for somebody to help support us, so I want to do the same."

Bernard said it was good to know that Soldiers take time out of their day to help each other out, even though it's not required of them.

"Seeing something like this makes me proud because my husband is a Soldier and it just makes me really proud that they're supporting each other," she said. "That's the whole point -- their mission is to support each other."

Julianne Johnson was also happy to donate to the cause.

"I think it's amazing that these guys are taking care of each other like this, and I want to be able to do my part to help out," said Johnson. "Soldiers sacrifice so much for us, so what is it to me to sacrifice a few cans of food so that they can have a better holiday?"

Page last updated Thu July 25th, 2013 at 12:39