By Gregory Ripps, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade Public AffairsSeptember 24, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Soldiers and Soldiers' Angels got together Sept. 10 to ready letters and snacks for mailing overseas.
Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit organization based in California, has offices and a warehouse on the Pan Am Expressway, convenient to Fort Sam Houston. The organization aids and supports U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and other places outside the country in a variety of ways.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Ahn, of the 717th Military Intelligence Battalion, said 18 Soldiers who belong to the battalion volunteered for the mailing task through their Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, which encourages community service projects as part of its mission.
The BOSS members and other 470th Military Intelligence Brigade members working in conjunction with the brigade's Family Readiness Group gave up their afternoon to build "flat rate" U.S. Postal Service boxes, pick snack assortments and deposit them into the boxes along with selected letters, most of which children had written for troops stationed far from home.
Sean Gray, Soldiers' Angels warehouse foreman, said the organization depends on volunteers because it has few paid employees. While they send boxes to troops throughout the year, their volume increases ten-fold as the holiday season nears and they need the most volunteers in November.
Ahn said the Soldiers in his battalion would be returning to help Soldiers' Angels many other times. And Pfc. Laron Gordon explained one reason for volunteering.
"When it's my turn to be deployed, I'd like to receive a package," said Gordon.
Gray pointed out that receiving the packages often meant more to the troops than the contents.
He also noted that Soldiers' Angels does more than mail care packages. For example, the organization also provides voice-activated laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, and handmade blankets for wounded, deployed and veteran Soldiers.
"It's the best job in the world to do something like this," said Gray, a U.S. Marine for eight years before going to work for Soldiers' Angels. "I actually get excited to come to work."