Soldiers applying humanitarian assistance learned overseas at home
May 20, 2010
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Capt. Justino Lopez, commander of Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division is proud of his Soldiers.
"They were able to come out of Iraq," Lopez said, "then come back here and apply the humanitarian assistance they gave to Iraqis here at home; that's why I am proud of them."
Since returning in September, Soldiers of C/2-8th have volunteered to pack food for the Fairbanks Rescue Mission, organized an activity for the Boys and Girls Club, collected toys for Santa's Clearing House and volunteered with the Yukon Quest.
They also went to Lost Lake to help with Boy Scout cold-weather training, cleaned up between miles 355-356 on Richardson Highway, worked with school children and volunteered at an event honoring senior citizens.
The entire battalion participated in the toy drive, but the favorite among the Soldiers was the Yukon Quest. "The unique thing about the Yukon Quest is that it was specific to Alaska. That's not something you're going to find down south," Lopez said. "That was pretty neat, getting them to see and participate in something specific to this area."
"It seems like they're excited about all of them. They always come back with a story," Lopez said.
For Sgt. Nichlous Horn, volunteering is a family event. He and his wife Amber help out at the Family Resource Group fundraisers and he helps her with their daughter's Girl Scout troop and school activities.
Horn volunteers because he wants to "give back and help other people," he said. "I get a sense of pride."
Spc. Steven Schnepp II said volunteering lifts his spirits, especially after a long week at work.
"I just like to help out," said Schnepp, who grew up volunteering in Michigan with his family and still volunteers when he is visiting there.
Schnepp especially enjoys volunteering in the civilian community. It gives him a chance to meet new people and "it helps you remember why you joined," he said. "They remind you what you're fighting for."
"It gives me a lot of opportunity to get out and see the community," said Pfc. Xeev Yang. He also said it "keeps me out of trouble" by giving him something productive to do on the weekends.
He enjoys the interaction with the local community. "You see the kid's faces, oh you guys are so cool, you're helping us out," Yang said. "It's like instant gratification, I guess you could say."
"They work so hard to do everything you do, here at work, with reset, with training and then, for them to volunteer their time to go out and do these things on weekends, it's a selfless move," Lopez said.