DONGDUCHEON, Republic of Korea -- Winter is here and people are bundling up to stay warm outside, but staying warm inside can also be a challenge for many families in Dongducheon City.
Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade teamed up with Gyeonngi Province to help families stay warm by delivering 5,000 blocks of charcoal to disadvantaged families during the 2018 Dongducheon Charcoal Distribution Dec. 21.
The 3-13 Field Artillery Regiment (FAR) is a rotational unit from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and is forward deployed with 210th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB).
U.S. Army Garrison Casey Commander Lt. Col. Brian Jacobs, native of Merritt Island, Florida, shared why this experience is important to him.
"Helping others has been a core value of mine as a child, through my teenage and adult years," said Jacobs. "It's consistent with the Army value selfless service."
Jacobs highlighted the significance of volunteering in the community in which you serve.
"But here in Korea it's even more special, because we're doing this for our host nation partners," said Jacobs. "This service was an outward confirmation that the U.S. is here to be part of the community."
Staff Sgt. Javaun Mosley, native of Lawton, Oklahoma, Fire Control Noncommissioned Officer, 3-13 FAR, shared his own feelings about supporting the ROK-U.S. alliance.
"Building relationships is important between the U.S. and Republic of Korea," said Mosley. "It shows the civilians that we actually care."
Mosley does something every year to help others in need in the United States.
"It's nice to expand that a little bit to another country," said Mosley.
The annual charcoal distribution is in conjunction with Eighth Army's Good Neighbor Program, which was established in 2003 to strengthen the ROK-U.S. partnership by increasing positive engagements with the local community.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pauken, native of Washington D.C., Fire Control Noncommissioned Officer, 3-13 FAR, enjoyed the opportunity to enhance relationships.
"I think this service helps to support our international relations with South Korea," said Pauken. "It shows others that we care about them, not just what it looks like on TV."
The event took Soldiers out of their daily battle rhythms and immersed them into their surrounding community.
"It's one thing to train, work, and have a tenure here focused on our gates," said Jacobs. "It's another thing to be visibly, integrated and nested in some of the great causes like this. I think it's a final confirmation of the phrase 'Katchi Kapshida-we go together.'"
While Katchi Kapshida is a phrase often used to describe the close relationships of ROK and U.S. Soldiers, these bonds are strengthened by the many small steps of host nations throughout the years.
This was yet another step to fortify friendships and strengthen the alliance.