By Staff Sgt. Almon BateMarch 28, 2019
CAMP CASEY, Republic of Korea - Serving in the U.S. military is much more than rifles, land navigation and tanks. Soldiers apply the Army values to all they do, and through selfless service, get involved with their local communities.
More than 100 Soldiers with 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, teamed up with local residents, government employees and other volunteers to help clean the Shincheon Riverside at Sangpae Bridge, March 21.
Together, 210th FAB Soldiers and Dongducheon residents gave back to the community by picking up debris and helping maintain the natural environment.
"Volunteering shows that we're part of the local community," said 1st Sgt. Jose Valdez, a native of Yuba City, California, cavalry scout, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment (Rotational). "It's not just about the installation here, it's also about building relationships with the local community."
The riverside cleanup is part of United States Forces Korea's Good Neighbor Program, which aims to strengthen ROK-U.S. relationships through increased positive engagement with the ROK populace.
"I think this shows the level of respect (we have) for each other," said Valdez. "To...come out here and participate and clean up the local river, it shows that we have respect for the local community and the people."
Valdez said his favorite part about volunteering is knowing you're involved in something meaningful and contributing to society.
"I think it's important for Soldiers to help provide positive reinforcement in the community," said Sgt. Daniel Williams, Statesville, North Carolina native, cavalry scout, 2-13th CAV.
Williams said he gained a sense of accomplishment in making something better than it was before.
"Volunteering helps out the community," said Pvt. Aaron Johns, a native of Fitzgerald, Georgia, fire control specialist, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment. "It's a good thing to do anyway."
Even though some were recovering various training, many Soldiers still took time to support the cleanup effort to help build relationships with the local community.
"I think there's a value in volunteering. It helps you put your own personal priorities aside and put others - whether people or communities - before your own," said Valdez.