By Ms. Lindsey R Monger (ATEC)January 10, 2018
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- With only a day to spare, the Havre de Grace, or HdG, Salvation Army was in need of help and support to relocate toys they had collected for their annual Angel Tree Program, due to an unexpected fire at their headquarters building, Dec. 14.
Angel Tree is a Christmas assistance program, used throughout the U.S., that allows any individual to "adopt" an angel (ages 0-12) by taking one or more name tags from the angel tree (located in the individual's county), and then providing gifts of new clothing and toys to those children.
In need of a quick solution, HdG Salvation Army Corps Officer, Lt. Wendy Parsons, reached out to Aberdeen Proving Ground's, or APG, Garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company, or HHC, Commander Cpt. Willis Akers, who then extended the request to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command's HHC Commander Cpt. Luis Revilla.
"When I was informed that the fire had destroyed toys destined for children the very next day, I knew we needed to help right away," said Revilla. In spite of last minute notice, he was able to get another ATEC Soldier, Staff Sgt. Justin Johnson and his wife, to help out for the day. Akers was also able to get two Soldiers from Garrison, to include Sgt. Sonya Wallace and Spc. Steven Turner.
As both HHCs worked alongside of the HdG Salvation Army, they were able to help relocate the toys to a place where they would not be damaged by the fire and be ready for the shipment to the angels for the next day.
"Originally, our program had collected approximately 1,348 toys, but because of the fire, we lost 340 items," said Parsons. With the help of our friends on APG, we were able to provide over 1,500 toys to our angels this year."
Revilla added that regardless of being cold, tired, and exhausted, the feeling of joy and gratitude that came from the HdG Salvation Army Staff was absolutely overwhelming. "It really made our day and even our entire holiday season."
"Special thanks to the men and women from APG who came and helped so selflessly," said Parsons. "I couldn't have gotten everything over to our warehouse for an on-time distribution to our Christmas angels without them."
"The U.S. Army has proved themselves honorable again, as always."