Co-workers help dad send holiday cheer to Afghanistan
Lt. Col. Joe Brazell, a mobilization staff officer, and Pat Young, a planning operations specialist, both at U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga., package holiday gifts and treats Dec. 4, 2008, to send to Spc. Joseph Brazell, Brazell's son, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The packages were filled with donated items from the elder Brazell's co-workers.

FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- When Spc. Joseph Brazell asked his father, Lt. Col. Joe Brazell, to send him a Christmas tree in Afghanistan, he had no idea the effect it would have in his father's office.

During his visit home on leave in October 2008, Spc. Brazell, who's deployed with the 62nd Engineer Battalion, bought a laptop to keep in touch with family via e-mail messages.

His father urged him to routinely contact the family, especially since communicating can be sporadic during missions. It was in one of those e-mail messages that the junior Brazell made his request known for the holidays, starting a chain reaction that would send his father's coworkers into action.

The next day, when a co-worker asked, "How's the boy'" Lt. Col. Brazell mentioned his son's e-mail request. In response, the co-worker said, "Don't ask why, just forward me the e-mail."

A few days later, Lt. Col. Brazell discovered the reason; his co-workers in the plans and operations section of U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga.'s G3/5/7 section donated items and money to ship eight boxes of holiday cheer to his son at Kandahar Airfield.

Nearly 40 people donated items such as books, movies, candy, hot cocoa mix, disposable cameras, ornaments, a Santa Claus holding a U.S. flag, a cartoon-character card signed by the section and, of course, a Christmas tree to ship to the Soldier. The boxes also included four small presents, one for each of his best "battle buddies."

"It's touching to know you've got supporters," said Lt. Col. Brazell. Surprised by the generosity of his co-workers, Lt. Col. Brazell said it is a great team.

The co-worker approached veterans around FORSCOM, encouraging them to donate by saying, "You were there once; let's take care of these guys."

"I supported it because I can remember when I was a young, right-out-of-school Soldier, overseas by myself. It could have been three lonely Christmases without the people I was with," said Lt. Col. Brazell.

Lt. Col. Brazell told his son the tree shipped Thursday, to look out for a few other small things and to send photos of the decorated tree; however, he did not mention the office's collected items.

During his son's leave, father and son talked about the Soldier's future plans. Spc. Brazell asked his father to start collecting information about colleges. His intent is to attend North Georgia College in Dahlonega and complete the ROTC program after his current enlistment and become a commissioned officer.

Lt. Col. Brazell attended North Georgia College, graduated in 1984 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant assigned to field artillery. The mobilized National Guardsman from LaGrange has been commuting to work here for the past six years.

Spc. Brazell, who enlisted after high school, deployed in January with III Corps from Fort Sill, Okla., to serve as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16