Staff Sgt. Travis Vandela, a 3rd "Greywolf" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Soldier wounded during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08, poses with one of the walking sticks donated by the Firehouse Carvers of Jefferson City, Mo., and delivered by Lori Carpenter, the 3BCT's Family Readiness Support Assistant, Feb. 22.

FORT HOOD, Texas - A group of Soldiers and civilians from the 3rd "Grey Wolf" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, took a trip to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Feb. 22.

The group, led by Lori Carpenter, the Family Readiness Support Assistant, usually just visits the brigade's wounded Soldiers, but this time they had a special delivery - six walking sticks donated by the Firehouse Carvers of Jefferson City, Mo.

Walt Sinclair, a member of the carving club and father of Maj. John Sinclair, the 3rd BCT Signal Officer, personally delivered the walking sticks to Fort Hood.

"This is the first time we did this as a club," said Walt, who once before delivered 10 of his own carved sticks to a classmate of his younger son, who was wounded in Iraq and was recovering at Walter Reed.

Walt retired from the Air Force in 1977, after 20 years in the Startegic Air Command and later taught for 25 years at Tricounty VoTech in Eldon, Mo. He is now retired and spends much of his time fishing and carving, but he still finds time for the troops.

"It was very important for my dad that those walking sticks were delivered to the Grey Wolf Soldiers," said Maj. Sinclair. "When he and mom came down to visit after my return from Iraq, he made sure to bring those walking sticks with him."

Some of the Soldiers at BAMC are double amputees, learning to walk again-they will be able to use the walking sticks.

"The Soldiers were amazed at the interest and support shown by the community in their well-being," said Carpenter of the Soldiers who received the walking sticks.

Most of the walking sticks included the signature of the woodcarver and one of them the signature of the Missouri Governor.

"Carving walking sticks is a way for the wood carving club to thank our Soldiers for their service and sacrifice," said Maj. Sinclair.

Page last updated Fri March 7th, 2008 at 14:44