The Gift of Volunteering
January 6, 2013
Volunteering is an easy way to show a community that you care. That's exactly what the Soldiers from the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, do.
As part of the brigade's Good Neighbor Program, the unit reaches out to their Korean neighbors to show that "Katchi Kapshida," Korean for "we go together," is not just a motto for the battalion Soldiers. As part of the outreach, the battalion conducts many events throughout the year to better their off-post communities. But there are three organizations the battalion works with frequently -- An Nil Middle School, Pyeongtaek University and the Jacob's House orphanage.
"The intent is to get the Soldiers out there so they can really see how they can make a difference for the community as well as Pyeongtaek city. We do around 60 events a year ranging from English classes at the university and middle school to playtime at the orphanage," said Chief Warrant Officer Ivory J. Dugar, the battalion Good Neighbor Program coordinator.
The most recent volunteer trip was to the Jacob's Orphanage. To celebrate the spirit of the holidays, battalion volunteers dropped off gifts, large and small, to the children and spent time playing with them.
"Every time my children visit their grandparents, there is a certain look that appears on their faces. The children at the orphanage have that same happy look every time we visit," said Dugar.
The children eagerly ripped into the colorfully decorated packages to find new toys and memories. The children not only made memories for themselves but also brought back memories for at least one volunteer of her own children.
"When I look at the kids I think of my son because he happens to be about the same age that most of them were. It was nice to get that nurturing feeling back," said Lee.
For others, the visit brought back memories of themselves as children excitedly opening presents under loving eyes on Christmas day.
"When I was a child I was always thrilled to see presents for me, it never mattered what it was," said Dugar. " I saw the same innocent excitement for Christmas in the children at the orphanage as they opened the presents we brought."
The children, in return, put on a festive presentation for the Soldiers in special holiday shirts with hearts to show their appreciation for the presents.
"It was great to get to hang out with all the kids and the presentation was awesome, especially considering how young they were. It made me feel really humbled." said Lee.
The Soldiers said when they visit the orphanage, it is always a special event because the extra attention and love shared highlights their day and is visibly noticeable on the children's faces.
"Every time my children visit their grandparents, there is a certain look that appears on their faces," said Dugar. "The children at the orphanage have that same happy look every time we visit."
With another visit finished, the Soldiers leave confident they left a lasting impression on the children at Jacob's Home orphanage. The Soldiers' faces change when they move to different duty stations but the battalion's commitment to these young children will last a lifetime.