Donation pick-up
1st Lts. Mark Wheeler and Miros Turnbow, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, carry out donations collected by youth from the Montague Youth Center at Fort Hood, Texas, May 11. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Children here joined forces to make a large donation in support of deployed troops at Montague Youth Center, May 11.

Keshia Gray, the facility director of Montague Youth Center and Montague School Aged Care, said they conduct a community service project every quarter to teach the youth about the importance of giving back to the world.

“This quarter we talked about donating to deployed Soldiers,” Gray explained. “I think they really gained something from it. They know we have to give back and we have to look out for our Soldiers because they’re always looking out for us.”

More than 50 youth donated more than 500 items, from health and personal hygiene products, to snacks and drinks. Gray said the youth were so excited about the project that they made it into a competition between the grade levels. Before long, the competition was between the youth center and SAC.

The real winners of the competition were troops with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, recipients of the items. The Ironhorse Brigade has been on a rotation in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve in Europe since November.

“This means a lot for the troopers forward,” 1st Lt. Miros Turnbow, Ironhorse Brigade’s Soldier and Family Readiness Group representative, explained. “They’ve endured a deployment during the pandemic. Trying to navigate those challenges has been hard on them, so I know this is going to boost the morale.”

Gray said when they prepared for this community service project, they sat down with the youth to discuss the topic. She said they were frank and the students responded positively.

“Do you know what deployment is? Have your parents ever been deployed or are they deployed right now? How do you think they feel when they’re deployed? How do you feel when they’re deployed?” Gray said were some of the questions asked, before asking, “Do you think they need anything when they’re deployed, that they can’t get over there?”

She said that’s when the youth started listing useful items Soldiers would like during deployment. Some were things their own parents needed or wanted while they were deployed.

“They were just amazing with giving donations and helping,” Gray said about the youth. “We’re going to give them an ice cream social after all this is over.”