Canadian Security Assistance Liaison Officer (SALO) Capt. Melissa Bryan, assigned to the United States Army Security Assistance Command in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, has taken time to give back to the local community this Halloween in a spook-tacular way.
Bryan, supported by other New Cumberland SALOs, family and friends, transformed Bryan’s home into a makeshift haunted house for the public to venture through for three haunted nights. But it wasn’t just for fun. It also helped raise money for those in need.
Visitors didn’t pay entry, but the SALOs accepted monetary contributions to donate to a local charity. All proceeds were donated to Vickie’s Angels. Bryan said she selected Vickie’s Angels to help families who are fighting cancer and struggling to pay their bills while undergoing cancer treatments. Recently losing her father to cancer, Bryan was passionate about supporting this cause.
“Halloween is one of my favorite holidays,” said Bryan. “I love haunted houses and thought what better way to combine something I love and raise money for a cause I feel passionate about. Of course I could have never have done this on my own, so I approached the SALO community for their help. The response was great. They were very enthusiastic and helped make it a huge success.”
Initially there were fears that COVID-19 would minimize public support, but that was not the case. The community responded in a big way by shattering the fundraising goal set by the SALOs. For their first year, Bryan and the SALOs hoped to raise at least $500. They surpassed that goal the first night the haunted house was open to the public.
“As liaison officers I believe it’s important to be active in the local community. Our presence and interaction with the community help strengthen the ties between the U.S. and the various countries the SALOs represent. It is our way to give back,” said Bryan.
The SALOs hope to make the haunted house a USASAC tradition.