FORT HOOD, Texas - Whenever Soldiers make purchases at the Fort Hood thrift shop, something they may not know is that a large portion of the money they pay for items goes toward supporting schools, scholarships and other programs designed to help the Fort Hood community.

With this in mind, Col. Herb Lawson (ret.), former commander, Division Support Command (DISCOM), 1st Cavalry Division and his wife, MurAnne, decided to make a donation of $32,000 worth of maternity items-clothes and nursing blouses-- to the Fort Hood Thrift Shop Sept. 10.

"It was actually her idea," Lawson said of MurAnne who owns a maternity store in Austin. "We wanted to help Soldiers and we did this last year too."

"We decided to help the Fort Hood community and make money for the thrift shop at the same time," he added.

Along with last year's donation, the Lawson's have donated nearly $80,000 worth of merchandise to the thrift shop.

Donning a cavalry Stetson as he off-loaded boxes of items at the thrift shop, Lawson said his love for the Fort Hood community runs deep through the bonds and memories he shared while serving with the First Team.

"I used to wear this at parades and other events," said Lawson pointing to the Stetson. "The Cav. is one of the assignments that I have the most fond memories of."

Although Fort Hood has changed since Lawson last served here from 1986 to 1988 and his old command DISCOM no longer exists, he said he enjoys getting to meet the Soldiers and their families.

"Coming back here is like coming home, it always feels good and when you can visit Fort Hood Soldiers and knowing you're helping them-it's even better," Lawson said. "Although DISCOM is gone, change is imminent and you've got to keep up with change."

"I went by the old DISCOM building which is now part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavlary Division, it kind of makes me laugh because things really have changed a lot," he added. "The post has really built up."

Even with all the changes he's seen, the one thing that hasn't changed is the Army's willingness to help Soldiers as evidenced by the programs that the thrift shop supports.

"The Army has always helped its own and giving to the thrift shop is a good way to help them continue to help their own," said Lawson.

Whereas in most cases, people who place things for sale in the thrift shop receive 75 percent of the profits and 25 percent goes back to the Fort Hood community, donations are handled differently than consignments.

Donated items can either be sold ---with all of the profits going to support Soldiers and their families-or they can be given to those in need, such as families who may have lost a home to fire or families who are in financial distress.

"Each month, we have FRGs (family readiness groups) who come in and volunteer and they say 'we have a family in need, can you help them,'" said Margret Bond, Fort Hood thrift shop manager. "Donations like (Mr. Lawson's) make that possible."

"Sometimes Soldiers might be in dire need and this is just one of the things we can help them with and it's a good thing to be able to give back to the community when you can," added Bond. "It makes me feel great because I've been a younger enlisted wife before and we didn't have an option like this that helps to lift a (burden) off of those families."

Lawson said that he wants to get the word out to Soldiers about the thrift shop so that it can continue to support local military families.

"This is just one of the benefits of the military that a lot of Soldiers just don't know about," Lawson added.