Soldiers pack pounds for homeless veterans
December 22, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Soldiers running in the pre-dawn of Dec. 2 with extra weight on their backs hadn't "gained" additional pounds. Each carried a rucksack with about 25 pounds of food or personal hygiene items to donate to homeless veterans.
Twenty-one Soldiers of Army South and the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade ran the five-kilometer course. Others helped set up and monitor the event and pack the items after the runners emptied their sacks of their contents.
Staff Sgt. Cory Lovejoy, U.S. Army South G2 (Intelligence), said he was taking the items to the Residential Center for Veterans, a shelter for homeless veterans run by the American GI Forum and located just west of downtown San Antonio.
One of a few of its kind in the country run by veterans for veterans, the center identifies homeless veterans, provides them with health assessments and helps them find support services and employment.
"There is really no significance or symbolism for carrying the food on our back other than the fact that it was a Soldier event and that's what we do when we ruck," said Lovejoy.
I supported the event by manning the turn-around point and cheering the Soldiers on," said Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Mitchell, 401st MI Company, who couldn't run because he is currently on a medical profile.