'Red Dragons,' Civil Affairs Soldiers Make Humanitarian Aid Drop
September 24, 2007
BAGHDAD - About 10 years ago, Inam Jawad and her husband were blessed with a little girl. Soon after her birth, they realized that their daughter had a severe mental disorder that would mean she would need extra help throughout her entire life.
Then after the death of her husband shortly after the birth of their daughter, Jawad made a choice that would echo throughout the community and touch the lives of hundreds of children and adults.
She opened up her home in central Baghdad to children and adults who were mentally disabled.
Years went by without much help from the government. Only private donations were taken to keep the home running despite high rent payments and food and medical supply bills.
Recently, without explanation, the food drop offs stopped. The neighborhood advisory council caught wind of the problem and immediately contacted Capt. Donald Cherry and his troops from Battery A, 3rd "Red Dragons" Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, to see what could be done for Jawad and her home.
"Without cooperation, you can do nothing," said Udai Jalal, the council's deputy chairman. "Any help is welcome, especially when it is for children like this."
Working closely with a team from the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion out of North Carolina, the troops from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, made a food drop that would keep Jawad's home well-stocked for about a month.
Several hundred pounds of rice, beans, canned vegetables and powdered milk were dropped off Sept. 18 to sustain the center until more regular lines of logistics could be opened up.
Along with the food, medical supplies like cough syrup, valium and cold medicines were dropped off to help Jawad restock her cabinet.
"The medicine, food and help are appreciated," said Jawad. "I hope to keep the relationship with the council and the Americans in the future."
Jawad expressed her thanks to the troops, but hinted at future intentions while talking with the council chairmen. She said she would like to become more independent in the future by not having to pay such a steep price for rent and have more regular shipments of gasoline for her generator, food and supplies she exhausts on a daily basis.
Her center houses more than 20 children and also several elderly adults in need of extra care.