GANEUNG, South Korea-- Working along with volunteers from Camp Stanley and Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, the 1st "Steel" Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, liaison team volunteered at a local soup kitchen near Uijongbu, South Korea.

"I was once in the same situation," said Pfc. Jacob Ragle, a native of Marion, Ind., and a liaison assistant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Batt. 38th FA Regt., 210th FA Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "Now that I am able to give back, I feel like the gratitude which was once showed to me, is being returned."

As steam poured from a pot of noodles and wafted through the tent-covered kitchen, it mingled with the scent of kimchi. Nearby, several dozen hungry locals waited patiently at the tables and chairs set up for them. Some fanned themselves in the heat and held casual conversations, while others watched with intrigue as volunteers prepared their meal.

"Volunteering is so important because it improves the public image of the military, and allows Soldiers to travel and interact with local nationals," said 1st Lt. Mike Hill, a native of Denver, Colo., and the liaison officer assigned Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Batt. 38th FA Regt., 210th FA Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "It also helps in strengthening the alliance we have here."


The team spent several hours assisting local volunteers with the preparation, serving, and cleaning at the soup kitchen. The kitchen serves free meals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Their number one mission is to ensure that no one is turned away.

"My experience at the soup kitchen was emotional," said Staff Sgt. Felix Mena, from Temecula, Calif., a liaison assigned to HHB, 1st Batt. 38th FA Regt., 210th FA Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "I feel like it gave me a deeper understanding and connection with the people of South Korea."

The kitchen also warmly welcomes volunteers. People interested in volunteering their time can contact 1st Lt. Mike Hill, the liaison officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Batt. 38th FA Regt., 210th FA Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.