Lunar New Year volunteers deliver rice, friendship
By Staff Sgt. Luke Graziani, IMCOMFebruary 9, 2014
SEOUL, Republic of Korea (Feb. 9, 2014) -- Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, helped celebrate the Lunar New Year by volunteering to deliver rice, ramen and toiletries to the less fortunate in a nearby community, Jan. 28.
Dozens of elderly citizens were escorted by U.S. and Korean Soldiers to their homes where they received the donations. Some of the elderly live on their own and others live in assisted-living situations. The boxes carried by the volunteers were met by all of them with humble smiles and deep gratitude.
A supply sergeant who works at the Religious Retreat Center said she enjoyed her first time volunteering in the community.
"My experience was good; meeting people and just being able to help out," said Sgt. Monique Palmer. She recognized that the older members of the community have a daily struggle. "You always want to have [a] relationship where you know you can depend on someone other than yourself."
The community outreach event was coordinated by the Good Neighbor Program, or GNP.
"The GNP puts together events such as this all year round," said An, Chang-Sin, Yongsan Community Relations director. "It is ultimately the volunteers who sacrifice their time and energy who make these events truly meaningful."
According to An, HHC and many others from the Yongsan community participate in these types of volunteering projects to help their neighbors and strengthen the bond between the U.S. military and the citizens of the Republic of Korea.
The commander of HHC, Capt. Alexander Kim, has a particularly personal reason for getting out there and helping out the community.
"Both of my grandfathers, during the Korean War, received tremendous help from the U.S. Soldiers," Kim said. "I feel honored to be in this position to participate in the Good Neighbor Program. Now that I'm a member of the U.S. Army, I get to help impoverished Koreans like my grandfathers."
For more information about the Yongsan Good Neighbor Program, call DSN 738-5212.