By Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger, 4IBCT Public AffairsNovember 4, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Gratitude is a continuum, a two-way street through which givers and receivers exchange good will.
Many Soldiers--and their Families--who have served and lived through this era of war have experienced the gratitude of a thankful nation, but have rarely had the opportunity to express in return their appreciation for the state-side and overseas support.
A chance to do just that presented itself, however, Oct. 25, when residents of The Landings, a private living and golf community on Skidaway Island, Ga., toured Fort Stewart, Ga.
Residents of The Landings have provided financial support to Marne Soldiers in need for more than two years.
The tour, hosted by leaders and Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, consisted of a stop at the post's museum, Warriors Walk, the Engagement Skills Trainer, an interactive static display in the maintenance bay of the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment, 4IBCT and lunch at the 4IBCT dining facility.
At lunch, while Soldiers from throughout the 'Vanguard' brigade dined with the visitors, Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams, commanding general for the 3rd Inf. Div., shared his appreciation on behalf of the Soldiers and Families of the Marne Division.
"We are very, very fortunate here at Fort Stewart in the 3rd Infantry Division to have such great neighbors," Maj. Gen. Abrams said. "You do so much in support of our Soldiers."
Since 2007, residents of The Landings have raised more than $600,000 from within the gates of their community of 4,000 homes inhabited by approximately 9,000 people to provide rapid-assistance grants to military Families through The Landings Military Family Relief Fund facilitated by the American Red Cross.
When Soldiers do not qualify for Army Emergency Relief loans or other military financial assistance, community members from The Landings step in, said Maj. Nathan T. Biddle, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4IBCT, and the tour facilitator.
The majority of the grants, which average slightly over $500 each, are donated to Soldiers and their Families to assist with basic living costs.
"[Most] people here at The Landings went through the Vietnam era and saw the terrible reaction to the military by a small, but loud group [who] made a lot of press," said Milo Moore, one of the residents who coordinated with the 4IBCT for the tour. "I think we have a much better appreciation for the military, especially in Savannah."
"I'm delighted that there's so much community support," Moore added.
Sergeant James L. Purvis, a native of Milledgeville, Ga., and a cannon crewmember with Company A, 1/76 FA, 4IBCT, said that participating in the static display, where he showcased an M119 A2 Towed Howitzer, was his chance to thank members of The Landings' community.
"It feels pretty good… knowing [there are] people out there who care about the Soldiers and what we do," Sgt. Purvis said. "Their generosity--the way they donate to help Soldiers out--is a great thing, [and] this is the least we could do for them in return.