FORT HOOD, Texas - “What each and every one of you bring to this great nation is called being a volunteer,” Lt. Col. Julian Urquidez, commander of 4th Battalion, 3rd Security Forces Assistance Brigade, said to the nine Soldiers standing before him. “Giving more of yourself to ensure that others will prosper.”
The battalion commander awarded the troops with an Army Achievement Medal in front of the battalion headquarters, May 5, thanking them for giving back to their community.
“I don’t have all the details of what everyone’s done here, but we’re going to take the time to award every single Soldier in this formation the Army Achievement Medal,” Urquidez said, “so that forever it will be recognized that they earned the Army Achievement Medal for doing something that was greater than themselves and that means a lot.”
Led by Sgt. 1st Class George Yeanue, senior logistics advisor with 4th Battalion, the Soldiers volunteer their time monthly to feed the homeless in downtown Killeen, clean up Lion’s Park and actively volunteer at the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program through the Child and Youth Services’ Adopt-a-School program.
Yeanue thanked the commander for always supporting his ideas to strengthen the team and believing in the group. The senior logistics advisor shared that he is from Liberia, and most of the troops in the formation share a similar story.
“Most of them here grew up in Africa – a lot of poverty, a lot of bad things,” Yeanue shared. “Most people come over here and they look the other way, they won’t look back.”
He said he encourages them to look back, so they do not forget where they came from, how they can help people locally in similar situations, and where they want to go in their career.
Yeanue partnered with retired Sgt. 1st Class Ronnie Russell, president of the Innovation Black Chamber of Commerce in Killeen, to find out how the unit could help the city. He suggested feeding the homeless population. Russell said, before he retired from Fort Hood in 2016, he would do a lot of community service with his own Soldiers. When Yeanue brought the recommendation to his commander for approval, Urquidez said yes.
The Soldiers awarded on May 6 included Capt. Siafa Kiazolu, Sgt. Renthia Wreh, Pfc. James Ballah, Spc. Basirou Diop, Spc. Mamoud Kamara, Spc. Joseph Korbah, Spc. Joseph Livingstone, Spc. Tasheka Satchwell and Spc. Jonathan Yarkpai. Staff Sgt. Joseph Castillo, who was on rotation to the National Training Center, was presented the award later.
“Today is an incredible, incredible day. We get the opportunity, right here, to say thank you to multiple time volunteers,” Urquidez said. “Nobody’s ever told you thank you for serving this great nation, for serving the people of the United States of America and making this great world a better place, for not only American citizens, but for everyone in this globe.”