FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 44th Air Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, ruck marched 2.6 miles here for their inaugural toy ruck to help the Families in Crisis centers located in Central Texas, Dec. 1.
The partnership between the Renegade Soldiers and the center was created to ensure that those who are financially challenged during the holiday season can still provide toys to their children.
Cpl. Aisha Jamison, a Renegade party planning committee member, said the idea for the toy ruck came from the unit wanting to help others. Jamison, a logistician originally from Memphis, Tennessee, said it is heartwarming to be a part of a unit that wants to help those in need in the community she now calls home.
“It makes me really proud,” Jamison said, “to be able to help those who are less fortunate and let them know they matter, we still care, we are still a community. It makes me happy to help.”
In total, the Renegade Soldiers dropped off more than 170 toys for the centers located in both Killeen and Temple, Texas.
"This show of support from Soldiers is fantastic," shared Juana Wright, a case manager with Families in Crisis Centers in Killeen. Wright has been helping families through difficult times for more than a decade. She said it brings a smile to her face to see families happy.
“We have a lot of kids that are coming to the shelter from bad situations,” Wright said. “We want to make sure the kids and the parents have a joyous holiday. We let the parents pick the toys for the children.”
The formation made its way from the Lightning Ranch off East Range Road to the unit’s Supply Support Activity near 31st Street on main post. Company Commander Capt. Erin Ranger led the Renegade Soldiers on the ruck march while pulling a cart full of toys and playing motivational Christmas music to get the Soldiers through the 2.6 mile walk. The stuffed rucksacks and backpacks were for other people, but Ranger said the most significant gift was for the Soldiers.
“As a company, if we can all come together and give back to the community,” Ranger said, “I think the Soldiers when they go to their next duty assignment or if they leave the Army, they will continue the tradition they learned here of giving back to others.”
Jamison went on to say that it’s very inspiring to have unit leadership wanting to hear her thoughts and build a strong team.
“Our chief of staff says, ‘People first, winning matters,’” Jamison said. “My leadership shows me that my ideas matter, and that they want us all to be a part of a cohesive team.”