Sharing 'City with a Heart'
February 23, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan - In the age of the internet there is nothing special about video teleconferencing, but some are more meaningful than others.
The City of San Mateo, Calif., hosted the premier of the documentary "City with a Heart" and their special guests were more than 45 soldiers who participated in live via video teleconference from Afghanistan and Fort Campbell.
"City with a Heart" was a video celebration of the relationship between the City of San Mateo and Abu Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment. This relationship dates back to 1968 and the back story is very poignant.
And all those gathered were there due the sacrifice and dedication of a brother and sister, "It's amazing how Jean and his film crew put together 44 years in one hour to tell our story with the 101st," said Linda Patterson, the president of America Supports Americans.
Based on the hard work of Patterson, whose bother was deployed to Vietnam, the City of San Mateo formally adopted Abu Company. Soon after the adoption, her brother, Sgt. Joe Artavia was killed in battle in Vietnam.
Since that time, Patterson has dedicated her efforts to ensuring that no soldier ever goes unnoticed or unloved. She founded America Supports Americans, a nonprofit with the goal of getting cities to formally adopt military units like her brother's Abu Company.
"ASA has the ability and experience of seeing the benefits on both sides, thus, building solid lasting relationships with their assigned units," said Patterson.
Ever since then, the City of San Mateo has been an example of the support that Americans show for their service members both deployed and at home. In the years following the adoption of Abu Company, other neighboring cites have adopted units.
Hillsborough, Burlingame and most recently Foster City, Calif., have all adopted companies from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
"San Mateo's led this "Call to Action" defining ASA's mission which underlines the importance of homeland support by civilian leaders to encourage their respective communities to engage with their adopted units," said Patterson.
Some of the soldiers who were part of the video teleconference were part of a delegation from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division who visited the cities of San Mateo, Hillsborough, Burlingame and Foster City on Memorial Day weekend, 2012. This visit was documented and featured very prominently in the documentary.
"This public premiere of a 'City with a Heart' and those who see it should bring an innovative approach to the American people on what they can do for our troops beyond care packages," said Patterson.
"It was a very meaningful and rewarding experience. I had never taken part in something like our visit to San Mateo and the people treated us really well," said Capt. Charles Loverude, a member of the contingent that visited the cities.
The Brigade took part in three days of activities that were highlighted by the Bastogne soldiers marching in a Memorial Day parade that marked the 45th anniversary of the original adoption of Abu Company.
Loverude has also gotten to know several of the city liaisons who coordinated "The liaisons that I worked with are truly inspiring to me. They went that extra mile to make sure that we were very well received."