SEATTLE -- In April, soldiers from the 672nd Engineer Company "Renegades," an Army Reserve unit based in Missoula, Montana, raised over 4,600 pounds of food in a single weekend for the Missoula Food Bank.

The 672nd worked with the Missoula Army Recruiting Station to set up collection points at two Walmart locations in the area. They also brought in two light medium tactical vehicles (LMTVs) to transport and collect items.

There was a static display, and recruiters stood by to answer questions from young women and men that were interested in joining the Army. Missoulians were also invited to sit in Army trucks, and try on real Army equipment.

Soldiers even did pushups in return for donations to the food bank.

Sgt. Kenneth Lindon, a carpentry and masonry specialist from Missoula, recalls that he did several hundred pushups in exchange for donations.

"We were having fun with the customers," he said. "We were trying to lighten the mood out there."

"People came on in, we told them we were doing a food drive, talk to the for a little bit, and they would bring food back out," said Spc. Matthew Mycroft, an electrician from Bozeman, Montana.

Much to the Renegades' surprise, people started responding to their presence in a big way. Instead of only dropping off one or two cans each, many Missoulans dropped off bags full of food. Before they knew it, they had filled 11 pallets - 4615 pounds worth of food.

According to Gregg Asciutto, the Missoula Food Bank warehouse manager, that's enough food to support 100 Missoula families, or roughly 46 pounds per family.

"The amount of food that they raised is tremendous!" Asciutto said.

"This is only the first event," he added. "There's nowhere else for them to go, but up."

The food that the Renegades raised was enough to supply the food bank for an entire week.

Future Projects

For units that might be interested in hosting their own food drive, Asciutto wanted to remind units that the food banks are there to help them.

"Talk with the food banks at the very beginning," he said. Area banks have a wreath of resources and connections available to them that will make a great event be even more successful.

"They'll help you as much as possible to make your event as successful as possible."

Renegades

The 672nd Engineer Company "Renegades," based in Missoula Montana, are somewhat of a legend within the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. As the only vertical engineer company in the 301st, they are constantly living up to their name.

Back in December, they held the first ever vertical engineering skills competition for the 301st. Starting from scratch, they hoped to inspire the same sense of pride and excitement for vertical engineers that sapper companies experience while competing in sapper stakes.

Most recently, the Renegades journeyed south, where they laid the foundations for two clinics and an elementary school in Belize.

Final Thoughts

"I hope more units can hold events like this," said Spc. Thomas Evans, a deputy sheriff with the Glacier County Sherriff's Office.

"A lot of people don't hear about the humanitarian side of the military," he added.

"It was super fun! If we do this again in Missoula, I will definitely volunteer," said Mycroft.

"It was an honor working with the 672nd," smiled Asciutto.