ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia -- Soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga., and 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of Vicenza, Italy participated in a community engagement in Sigulda, Latvia.
The Soldiers came from the "Rock of the Marne" Division's 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment and "Sky Soldier" Brigade's 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, who helped in moving wood to be used by the nonprofit organization Latvian Christian Camp Center.
"It is a blessing to have so many strong Soldiers come out and help with what the camp considers a daunting task," said Vitali Kotkovs, director for a camp that has been catering to children and teens for 20 years. "What takes us several days to complete, takes this handful of Soldiers only a couple of hours. We are grateful."
The day's event was made possible from a relationship established between Capt. Jose Jimenez, the battalion's chaplain, and Latvian Land Forces Chaplain Corps.
"We can often be inward focused," said Jimenez, a San Diego native. "But in looking outward toward our NATO partners, we can find great opportunities to expand our knowledge and understanding of the world."
Along with fostering a better understanding of the world, this U.S.-Latvia engagement is in conjunction with Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between the U.S. and other NATO allies.
For Sgt. Jeremy Rose from 173rd IBCT, who has participated in several multinational operations throughout Europe, such engagements are part of helping further enhance a Transatlantic relationship.
"Along with coming out and meeting the locals and receiving this hospitality, we get to build upon the relationships we've established during exercises and trainings over the years," said Rose, a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native.
Kotkovs reiterates the importance of the military coming out and working with the community.
"It allows the people to see that the military is more than 'weapons and training,' but Soldiers that are people just like us," Kotkovs concluded. "Today, we've been blessed with a group of Soldiers that are strong, experienced and can do the job well. Sometimes people want to do everything for a salary, so it's just nice to see people that want to help, and smile while doing it."