By Patrick Young, Fort Stewart Public AffairsDecember 20, 2013
Fort Stewart, Ga. - During the holidays it is not always possible to spend time with Family; but if you look, there are still opportunities to capture that warm holiday feeling.
In that effort, more than 50 Soldiers from the Third Sustainment Brigade and US Army MEDDAC - Winn Army Community Hospital joined the volunteers from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 789, Thursday, with Veterans at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Ga. to help spread Christmas cheer.
For some of the Soldiers, like Sergeant 1st Class Alton Miller, a platoon sergeant with the 632nd Maintenance Company, it was an opportunity to learn more about the center, and visit the Veterans who live there. Miller said although he had additional plans to visit his sister in Colorado - to introduce her to her new 14-month old niece; he wanted to help say thanks to the veterans who lived in Dublin.
Lieutenant Alex Manavi, also with the 632nd, heartily agreed.
"If you say veterans, I'm there," Manavi said. "These are the people who came before and paved the way." Manavi, who is working on his third history degree, said today's Army was the best in the world due to the efforts of those that came before. So he said he wanted to show his appreciation.
For individuals like Spc. Easi Hatchett, with the 414th Signal Company, who hasn't seen his father in more than a year, the holiday visit to bring holiday cheer to the veterans there, had a special meaning. He said his last Christmas was with his fellow Soldiers at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan with his co-workers, not surrounded by snow but rather by sand and mountains. But that event was special too, due to the company he kept.
"I was with Family - my military Family," Hatchett said. Raised in a military Family that was always on the move, he said you build bonds among your military Family; which includes your veteran brothers and sisters.
So like the old phrase - "Home is where the heart is," the volunteers helped warm the holidays in fellowship, helping distribute presents, singing carols, and a Christmas concert featuring the Third Infantry Division Brass Quintet.
Music included traditional holiday tunes as well as modern renditions to classic jazz and blues songs that had attendees tapping their feet and feeling good.
Many of the residents said it was great to see the Soldiers in their uniforms, and thanked the volunteers for making the day special; but the Soldiers agreed they received a more joyful holiday in return.