By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleSeptember 12, 2011
Headquarters Battalion members volunteered their services to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Sept. 1 to help with the department's eighth annual backpack return-to-school drive.
This year, organizers distributed almost 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies -- nearly twice as many as last year -- to a variety of Fairfax County Public Schools and youth service organizations.
"We want to be good neighbors," said Command Sgt. Maj. Miguel Perez-Martinez of HQ Bn. "We get a lot of support from people within the Fairfax County community.
Volunteers stuffed large garbage bags with the backpacks and carried them to the recipient's vehicle.
"I volunteer a lot. I enjoy it," said Sgt. Jessica Printy, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, one of the unit members who helped with the drive. "To live in a community, you need to give back."
Suzanne Davidson, a counselor at Fort Belvoir Elementary School, attended the drive to get supplies for the school's new parenting room. Davidson said the room is designed to have a place for children who start the school year without any supplies.
"There are some children who start the school year without supplies, or they PCS in during the school year and don't have supplies because of that," said Davidson. "With our parenting room, we can say 'Hey, don't worry we have them for you.'"
Capt. Willie Bailey, Pubic Affairs/Community Outreach Officer for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, helped organize the event. Bailey has been involved with the drive for several years, and said this year was the best one he coordinated, mainly because of the amount of contributors they were able to find.
"It went great this year," said Bailey. "Office Depot made the biggest difference this year because they gave us good prices on the supplies and they also helped logistically. We didn't have to run all over the place this year to find supplies."
Several members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors attended and gave remarks during the pre-drive ceremony.
Sharon Bulova, board chairman, is particularly supportive of the drive as she said children should never have to worry about school supplies.
"It's a sign of a healthy community," said Bulova. "We care about each other."