AHYEON, Republic of Korea (Nov. 21, 2012) -- Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, along with Seoul American Middle School students and the Korean Foreigners Friendship Cultural Society, delivered coal briquettes to the households of elderly and low-income families living in Ahyeon-dong, Nov. 19, so they could stay warm over the winter.

Briquette delivery is an annual event hosted by the USAG Yongsan's Good Neighbor Program, which is done to strengthen the Republic of Korea, or ROK, and United States alliance by engaging in and communicating with the local community. More than 20 Soldiers and 20 Seoul American Middle School students partook in the meaningful event.

More than 4,000 briquettes were delivered to a location well known for its high elderly population, who live alone and have a low income.

Led by Capt. Vladislav Silayev, company commander for HHC USAG Yongsan, and local administrators, the Soldiers and students started delivering the briquettes in an organized way. While the Soldiers carried the briquettes, the dark stains from the briquettes smeared their faces and uniforms. After hours of enduring inclement weather, the coal briquettes were successfully delivered to 20 households that were in need.

"Today's briquettes delivery went really well and it was a meaningful experience," Silayev said. "Working with the Korean folks out here, we could see how people live and learn how to interact with them. I am sure that it was also a good opportunity for the local Koreans to get to know us, and see us giving something back to the community. They would see ROK and U.S. Soldiers in a more positive light."

According to Silayev, this forged the friendship between the local Korean community and the U.S Soldiers, and also strengthened the alliance between the ROK and the U.S.

"I think this type of event is an outstanding method to improve the ROK and U.S. alliance, which is the strongest international alliance in the world," Silayev said. "Anything we could do to help improve upon the alliance is worth doing. It is a very good step, set in a right direction."