By 1st Lt. Clark ChenJuly 23, 2018
Helping the community has always been a big part of the Echo Company 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Earlier this month Soldiers from Echo Co. banded together to donate multiple home appliances as well as over six hundred dollars to a family devastated by a tragic house fire.
Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan Ms. Humiko Haneji a 64 year old elderly woman has spent the last 10 years providing janitorial services on Kadena Air Force Base and keeping the hallways and bathrooms within Echo Co. clean and tidy. However, on May 2018 her home of 20 years was destroyed.
When news began to circulate within Echo Co. about Ms. Haneji situation. Capt. Eric Torrescarcovich, Commander of Echo Co., immediately put out a call to the Soldiers of the unit to help donate any home appliances, clothes and household goods to help out Ms. Haneji.
The Soldiers enthusiastically responded with an outpouring of support to help the Ms. Haneji who many of the Soldiers seen her as a member of Echo Co.
"It's just heartbreaking what happened to Ms. Haneji, I see her every week and consider her a part of the Echo Co. family," said 2nd Lt. Emre Basaran, automotive platoon leader. "We have to make sure we take care of each other, regardless if they are military or civilian. That's what we are all about."
Staff Sergeant Ronaldo Estabillo the Bravo Battery, Field Maintenance NCOIC described the damage from the fire.
"She lost everything, her home was just burned to ashes. It was painful to just see the amount of destruction and sadness in her face when she told us about what happened," said Estabillo. "Helping Ms. Haneji in her time of need was just the right thing to do," Estabillo added.
The out pour of support was overwhelming and showed the true friendship spirt of the Soldiers of Echo Co.
"I'm so proud of our Soldiers" said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Binyam Mengestu, the Maintenance Technician for Echo Co., "within days of receiving the call for help I saw a furniture, clothes and a rice cooker being donated."
"It was truly amazing to see how quickly our Soldiers responded in coming together to help Mrs. Henji," Mengestu added.
By the end of the month Ms.Henji was speechless by the generosity of donations. The outpour of donations was so overwhelming that the excess donations has to be donated to local charities.
As Ms. Haneji continues the long road to fully recovering her home, Echo Co. and its Soldiers will be there with her every step of the way.