Editor's Note: This article was originally published November 2021 by Julian Temblador.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — USO Bavaria conducted its fifth annual Thanks for Thanksgiving program on Saturday, Nov. 20. In collaboration with DeCA Grafenwoehr Commissary and Service Credit Union, senior NCOs from the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria footprint prepared and provided over 350 Thanksgiving thank you bags for their service members.
According to Carly Harris, the USO Bavaria area director, this program recognizes junior enlisted service members for their outstanding performance, service and sacrifices. This program also aims to strengthen the relationship between the senior NCO and their junior counterparts.
“It is a highlight of the year to be able to provide this group of leaders with the opportunity to spend time together working as a team to provide goodness to their service members,” Harris said. “Each unit has a designated time slot which enables one-on-one time between senior leaders and recipients.”
Junior enlisted service members were hand-selected by the participating senior NCOs to partake in the Thanks for Thanksgiving program. USAG Bavaria Command Sgt. Maj. Sebastian Camacho provided oversight for the program.
“I want to thank the USO team, DeCA and Service Credit Union for putting this event together,” Camacho said. ” And to the senior NCOs for participating and volunteering their time to come here to properly thank our Soldiers by giving them thank you bags for their efforts and hard work.”
The thank you bags consisted of two kits filled with frozen and dried groceries to make a complete Thanksgiving meal.
The bags included a frozen turkey, a frozen pie, canned vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cornbread mix, oven bags and a roasting pan.
The Thanks for Thanksgiving program would not have been possible without the groceries supplied by the Grafenwoehr Commissary and the support of USAG Bavaria mission partner Service Credit Union.
“This is what we are here to do — we are here to serve our communities,” said Aaron Force, the branch manager of Grafenwoehr Service Credit Union. “This is one small way we can give back. We consider this a privilege.”
The program was first introduced by the Kaiserslautern Military Community in 1999, as a way to strengthen the relationship between senior NCOs and their junior counterparts. USAG Bavaria adopted the tradition starting in 2017.