By Spc. Richard CollettaDecember 5, 2008
FORT RILEY, Kan. - In the spirit of the holiday season, Soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment volunteered Nov. 24 to help the less fortunate by renovating and cleaning up the Caroline Peine Transitional Shelter, also known as the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, in Manhattan, Kan.
The Soldiers rolled up their sleeves as they cleared debris from the yard, scrubbed walls, cleaned the kitchen, swept hallways and even built new shelves for the shelter. "Attack" Company Soldiers worked tirelessly throughout the day, yet there wasn't an unhappy face among them.
Pfc. John Bustamante said he was glad to get out and help.
"A lot of these guys don't have any other place to go and really aren't given a lot in their life so we get to come down here and help them out," Bustamante said.
The shelter has facilities to hold about 47 people. It consists of a men's dorm, women's dorm, Family dorms and special rooms for the handicapped.
Jeni Hart, a case manager at the shelter was all smiles at the sight of 85 Attack Company Soldiers cleaning the shelter.
"This is the greatest work day ever in my life. I love it," she said.
Becca Simmons, a volunteer and donation coordinator for the shelter, also was excited about the help the shelter received.
"It's pretty amazing," Simmons said. "Even though the Soldiers were busy, they were able to come down and help out the shelter."
1st Sgt. Adam Smith of Co. A donned safety goggles and manned the rotary saw as sparks flew to manufacture new shelving units for the shelter. As Soldiers took a short break for lunch, he had a few words to say to them about why they were there.
"Serving the military is not only about going to war, it's also to help give back to the community because think about it - when you guys go off to combat it's this community that helps your Families out. It's the local communities that take care of your kids when you're gone and not able to do the same thing."
There are many ways for concerned citizens to help out too, especially during this holiday season.
There are many people and Families in need this year.
To find out more about helping the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, call 785-537-3113, or stop by the shelter at 416 South Fourth Street in Manhattan.