President Rolls Up Sleeves to Support Military Kids
(July 1, 2009)
President Barak Obama talks with volunteers who gathered in the gymnasium at Fort Lesley J. McNair on June 25, 2009 to stuff backpacks for military children. The event was one of many in support of the White House's United We Serve volunteerism initiative.
WASHINGTON, June 25, 2009 – Volunteers were already hard at
work stuffing backpacks full of goodies for military kids today in Fort Lesley
J. McNair's gymnasium when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
arrived to give them a hand.
gratifying to see all of you committed to helping to put together some
backpacks, care packages for military families all across the country,” the
president said. “On Monday we launched ‘United We Serve,' our summer service
“We want to ask every American to take some time out this summer to do something
for others,” he added. “If all of us are doing that this summer, then we're
going to make this country stronger.”
As part of that strengthening, 15,000 backpacks of healthy snacks, books and
even a copy of the first dog's “baseball card” will make it into the hands of
military children attending the National Military Family Association's Operation
Even the youngest among today's 250 volunteers, which included congressional
family members and representatives of nonprofit
groups, were certain they could achieve that
15,000 bags, and understood
why military children need their support.
Taylor Paulsen, 10, knows what it's like to have her dad, U.S.
Rep. Erik Paulsen, of Minnesota, work away from home. |
“My dad works here, so sometimes he's away, but he comes back every weekend,”
she said. “It's sad because I really miss him. It's fun to have him home. We go
on bike rides and play games.”
It's the same for military kids, she said. “[But] they don't get to see their
dad as much because when he's gone he doesn't come back every weekend,” she
The meaning of volunteerism was best expressed by the adults, however.
Patty Barron, a representative of the National Military Family Association, grew
up in a military environment and her daughter is serving in Afghanistan.
“I think that it's just something that we all need to do. I think that military
members, spouses, and children especially understand what service means,” Barron
said. “For many of us growing up within a military family environment,
volunteering is just part of what we do. If we don't do it, it doesn't get
With some help from the first family, including Obama daughters Malia and Sasha,
the piles of backpacks and mountains of goodies had all but disappeared by the
end of the morning. It was an effort Feeding America spokesman Phil Zepeda
described as fantastic.
Article and photo by Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
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