DONGDUCHEON, Republic of Korea - Some of the best celebrations are those that build not only relationships, but also the environments in which people live.
Soldiers with 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division and citizens of Dongducheon City planted 3,000 tree roots to reduce the effects of deforestation while enhancing friendships during the 74th Annual City Hall Arbor Day celebration in DDC, April 5.
"Trees are essential, and so is our friendship with the citizens of Dongducheon," said Lt. Col. Shane Doolan, Brooklyn, New York native, 210th FAB deputy commanding officer.
Citizens and Soldiers served their community by planting trees at Tapdong Elementary School to help maintain and cultivate forests.
In line with U.S. Forces Korea's Good Neighbor Program, which was put into practice in 2002, community service is considered to be a cornerstone of positive ROK-U.S. relations.
"It's not just about Army stuff, but more working with the community," said Staff Sgt. Cory W. Conner, Colmesneil, Texas native, multiple launch rocket system crewmember, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment. "I believe that it can better the relationship between the ROK and the U.S."
There is more cohesion when Soldiers and civilians work together.
"It is important to support one another, because those before us have worked greatly on the alliance between our two nations," said Doolan. "The preservation, as well as progress forward between the two, promises a peaceful and rewarding future."
Thunder Brigade Soldiers work with local residents throughout the year to enhance the community and cultivate friendships.
"We live, work and plant trees together, because we are one community, with one aim and one destiny," said Doolan. "Together, we are better. Together, we are stronger."