Faces From the Front for December 29, 2008 - Sgt. Danielle Colson
Current Unit: Assigned to USAG-HI (Garrison command for Hawaii)
Current Position: Supply Sergeant
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Contingency Operations Base Adder in Tallil, Iraq
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
Years of Service: 5
Having spent the past six Christmases away from her loved ones, Sgt. Danielle Colson has learned to embrace the Army family around her during the holiday season. As the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge (NCOIC) of the supply office for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region South District, Colson ensures an uninterrupted chain of support and supplies for 142 military and civilian personnel located at eight locations throughout southern Iraq.
The group will celebrate on Dec 24th and 25th with a party and holiday movie marathon. It will be a well-deserved but brief break, as Colson and her team will then return to nearly 200 construction projects in Iraq’s nine southern provinces. Their work brings essential services to these remote areas including access to clean water, functioning sewers, medical facilities, electricity, courthouses, roads and bridges—sometimes for the first time.
The disparity between the often excessive American holiday season and what the Iraqi villagers are experiencing is not lost on Colson. This year, she and others with the Corps of Engineers have joined together in an effort to support the people of the local communities they are rebuilding. Capturing the true spirit of this season of giving, they are collecting clothing and toys from family and friends in the States and distributing these items to schools and families in southern Iraq.
"At its root, the holiday season is about giving to others," Colson said. "It touches your heart when you’re out there seeing the smiles on the faces of the children as they receive a gift from America. Through a small toy or a new piece of clothing we are able to bring a little joy."
Colson hopes to continue these donations beyond December and start a parallel program to donate art supplies to Iraqi women and provide a means for them to express their experiences as their society transforms.
Service has always been a core value stressed in Colson’s strong military family. Her father, a former captain in the Marine Corps, her mother and her youngest sister are members of the Civil Air Patrol and take part in a variety of efforts to support their community.
"To me, if you’re not opening yourself up to others and helping your neighbors, then you’re just wasting space," Colson said of her long track record of volunteer projects.
Upon her return to the States in March 2009, Colson says she will continue to find ways to support others while she serves her country. As the newly appointed Department of the Army Representative for the BOSS program (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers), Colson will focus on quality of life and community service and recreation opportunities for single soldiers. She will also resume her studies at Central Texas College.