By Sgt. Lisa Rodriguez Presley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentMarch 25, 2013
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. (March 25, 2013) -- For troops in the field it's the little things that can make a big difference. Miles away from the comforts of home, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies brought smiles to Soldiers' faces when employees from Paso Robles Albertsons passed them out during Warrior Exercise 91 13-01.
Customers at Albertsons supermarkets around California participated in the effort to send cookies to troops and their families at military bases. In Paso Robles, they showed their patriotic spirit by purchasing more than 3,000 bags of fresh-baked cookies for local troops. The response was far greater than anyone had expected, and store managers were overwhelmed by the community's response.
"We were blown away by the generosity and concern that our customers displayed for the troops," said Gary Mueller, Paso Robles Albertsons store director. "People would come in and buy two or three bags at a time and some customers were buying a bag to donate every time they came in. Of all of the stores participating, no one came close to the amount of cookies donated by our Paso Robles customers."
"Fort Hunter Liggett is part of our community, and we'd like to support the Soldiers right here," said Cindy Hawkes, Paso Robles Albertsons assistant manager. Each bag of cookies had a personal message attached written by the customer who donated them, allowing them to express their gratitude to the Soldiers receiving them.
The cookies are being distributed by more than a dozen Army Reserve chaplains from around the country participating in the exercise. They're taking them to Soldiers throughout the training areas, and the managers from Albertsons took the time to personally deliver several boxes of cookies to soldiers at Camp Schoonover.
In appreciation for their generosity, the store and its customers were recognized with a certificate by Brig. Gen. Jon D. Lee, commander of the 91st Training Division, and Col. Donna Williams, Fort Hunter Liggett garrison commander.
"For Solders miles away from home, living out in the dirt and the cold, things like this can really make a difference," Lee said.
"This was such a thrill for us, seeing how something so simple brightened their day," said Hawkes. "Albertsons and our customers appreciate what the military does for us every day. This is just a small way that we can say 'thank you' for all you do."
Fort Hunter Liggett is the largest installation in the Army Reserve, with more than 160,000 acres of mountains, valleys, rivers, plains and forests. It provides ideal maneuver areas and state of the art training facilities.
The 91st Training Division, headquartered at Fort Hunter Liggett, trains and assesses Army Reserve units, and supports training for joint, combined and active Army forces. Thousands of Soldiers and dozens of units from around the country participated in the March Warrior Exercise, which provides realistic training for military maneuvers and tactics such as base security, convoy operations and battle reaction drills during simulated enemy attacks.