By Sgt. Beth Lake (USARCENT)February 4, 2010
During a time when turning on the television brings images of a country so torn apart by an earthquake that the true level of devastation is still unknown, the Soldiers of Third Army/U.S. Army Central (Third Army) are doing their part to help by organizing a drive to collect goods and looking through their excess inventory to send supplies.
Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Carr, Third Army supply NCO in charge, gathered Soldiers from throughout the command after hearing that the Defense Reutilization Marketing Offices (DRMO) at Fort Gillem could send any excess equipment to Haiti.
"We had some excess cots in our connexes," Carr said. "We also had some light sets. Both of these are being packed up and turned into DRMO to be sent for disaster relief."
In response to Carr's call for help, Spc. Nicholas Stoecklein, Third Army G-3 maintenance specialist, has spent the past week unloading cots and preparing them for shipment.
"I have been out here driving a forklift and working with the other NCOs to unload this equipment and get it ready." Stoecklein said. "We are all really upbeat about this. Morale is really high and we feel good to be helping."
Sgt. Anesa Martinez, Third Army knowledge management NCO, volunteered to load supplies.
"It feels really good that we get to do something," Martinez said. "We are building a bond with another nation. It shows we don't just care about ourselves, but we will take care of others, no matter where you live."
At Third Army headquarters, Staff Sgt. Jerry Pierre, secretary of the general staff operations NCO and a native of Haiti, organized a drive to collect supplies to send to his home country.
"This is something I've always wanted to do, from the time my people were loading small boats to enter the United States just to better their livelihood," Pierre said. "Through the relief efforts, we have the opportunity to better a country and the people in it with something as small as clean sheets and clean water."
Pierre still has family in Haiti, including older brothers, aunts, cousins and his 84-year-old grandmother, who he has not heard from.
Although the earthquake has had a devastating impact on the country, Pierre is confident they will rise above this tragedy.
"The people of Haiti have been through some extreme obstacles, and yet, in my opinion, we are like a diamond in the rubble," he said. "Just as victims arise 11 days after this tragedy from deep debris, singing and praying, we as a country are going to rise and shine just as bright as the rest of the world."
As a Soldier, Pierre said the relief efforts will have a tremendous impact on people's daily lives.
"From a Soldier's standpoint it shows the greatness of generosity and how we can better a country," he said. "Thanks to our efforts, a Family can enjoy a meal together in the comfort of its own home."