By Nancy Rasmussen, Fort Rucker Public AffairsJune 27, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 27, 2013) -- Far from the classroom, Fort Rucker students are making a difference serving local Wiregrass communities.
So far this year, classes here have completed more than 20 projects totaling more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service to local schools and non-profit organizations.
Among numerous projects, class volunteers have reached out to build an outdoor classroom at Rucker Boulevard Elementary School in Enterprise, provide much-needed cleanup alongside other volunteers at Dothan's Landmark Park and local animal shelters and humane societies, and contributed manpower in building and landscaping Daleville's ChoctawPoochie Dog Park.
These volunteer projects are more valuable than ever to local organizations because of the severe economic, budget constraints they are facing. Food drives are especially needed to help feed the needy across the region.
Recently, Aviation Basic Officer Leadership Course and Aviation Warrant Officer Basic Course Class 13-015, led by WO1 Stefanie Hall, completed a food drive for the Wiregrass Area United Way Food Bank, serving Houston, Henry, Dale, Coffee, Geneva and Barbour counties.
Hall and her classmates collected 1,720 pounds of food and cash donations totaling $1,521.71. Julie Gonzalez, food bank development director, equates the cash to nearly 17,000 additional pounds of food for local distribution.
"That means this food drive-fundraiser resulted in the collection of 18,628 pounds of food, thereby providing 14,553 meals to help feed the needy throughout the Wiregrass," Gonzales said.
"I am deeply proud of what 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, D Company stands for and how proactive they are at supporting the local communities," said Capt. Matthew Stockton ABOLC and AWOBC 13-015 class senior platoon trainer.
"I am proud of Class 13-015 for the hard work (students) put in to raising an enormous amount of food and funds for the local food bank. I am especially proud of WO1 Stefanie Hall for the effort she put into organizing, briefing, and executing the community service project. They (students) all have generous hearts and are exactly what we are looking for to lead our Soldiers in the future."
In a note to Hall, Gonzalez wrote, "Congratulations! You guys did an outstanding job! We at the Food Bank are so grateful to have been chosen as the beneficiary non-profit of your community service project. Please extend my thanks, on behalf of the food bank, to everyone who contributed to the success of this project! It was the most successful one Fort Rucker has done for us. It was awesome!"
"This community service project has been an awesome experience for me and for my class," said Hall. "I am very glad that our class is required to complete a project like this. I have a passion for helping people, and that is one reason I love being in the Army. We are not just Soldiers who fight wars, we are also an organization that helps people worldwide to have a better, higher quality of life."
"To think about the impact that this small project produced is awesome. I am proud of my class for doing so well. It was a great experience for all of us and I will be sure to volunteer again when I have a chance to do so," she said.
Hall's class was among several that have raised funds and food for the Wiregrass Food Bank in the past few years.
"Since the fall of 2011, Fort Rucker Soldiers have donated or collected $2,904.74 and 9,696 pounds of food. That translates to more than 32,790 meals to feed hungry Wiregrass residents," Gonzales said.