By Spc. Cassandra Villezcas, Fort BlissDecember 2, 2008
FORT BLISS, Texas--Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command volunteered to help set up Thanksgiving dinner for children of the Child Crisis Center of El Paso Nov. 18.
The Soldiers helped in the kitchen stirring gravy for the turkey, cutting pieces of pie, setting up chairs and tables and making sure the service lines were full at all times.
The Soldiers had different reasons for volunteering and contributing to the community.
"I volunteered because I enjoy doing things for children who are less fortunate. If I can make a difference in someone's life then it's worthwhile," said Spc. Danny Woodruff, HHB, 32nd AAMDC schools specialist.
"It's really nice helping out the kids it brought a smile to their face as well as mine," said Spc. Gregory McCaleb, HHB, 32nd AAMDC assistant operations specialist.
The Soldiers were able to play with the children, listen to music, and enjoy the food.
"Soldiers need to get more involved in these programs. These children see our uniform and, believe it or not, it lights up their eyes and all the people that have hurt them go away for a minute because they know they can trust the uniform," said Spc. Kathryn Becker, HHB, 32nd AAMDC human resources specialist.
After the Soldiers were done helping with the Thanksgiving dinner Al Velarde, executive director for the Child Crisis Center, thanked the Soldiers for their hard work and dedication to our nation.
Becker said the Soldiers are not the heroes; the strong-willed, beautiful children are the heroes. The children affect lives and allow people to see that what many consider to be problems are not, but rather everyone needs to be thankful for all they have.
The Child Crisis Center is a program that takes care of children who are in all types of situations, it is not only for abused and neglected children.
The child crisis center has many different programs, including the Texas Resources for Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment, a program designed for Soldiers and their spouses.
If a spouse of a deployed Soldier feels like he or she needs a break they can take their children to the crisis center for up to 72 hours. The Crisis Center also takes children for up to ninety days if the Soldier goes out to the field or even to the Joint Readiness exercises that could last up to thirty days. The crisis center does not charge to take children in.
Some of the other programs the crisis center offers is emergency shelter for homeless families. Parents can leave their children their while they try to get back on their feet.
The Child Crisis Center provides: food, clothes, a clean bed, as well as transportation to and from school; parenting classes, in-home parenting classes and a program for teens that is a peer-to-peer classroom education program; is mainly funded through donations and grants and is run with volunteers; was founded in 1980 by George Russell and his wife Mary L. Russell.
Russell and his wife founded the center because he had a grandson who was abused and left blind. Russell and his wife designed the program to take children out of a situation where they were being harmed physically and sexually and wanted to provide a safe place for them.
Russell and his wife started the program with a building that was donated by Blessed Sacrament Church and twenty five dollars.