Texans Stock Soldiers' Blessing Store
(October 8, 2008)
Army photo by Sgt. Whitney Houston
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, Oct. 7, 2008
Unless they've been through
it themselves, few people understand the hardships that U.S. soldiers endure in
a combat zone, away from everything familiar in a foreign land, far away from
the support systems of family, home and friends.
To help troops counteract the effects of being deployed, many devout patriots
are providing soldiers a taste of home through donations to the Soldiers'
Blessing Store on Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Baghdad.
Army Chaplain (Capt.) Tim Reynolds (photo left), a native of Beaumont, Texas,
who serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division's
4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, has
collected donations from individuals and charitable organizations across the
United States and consolidated them in the store in what he calls an attempt to
bless soldiers' lives.
“It's hard for me to quantify, but we've received donations
from 20 to 30 states,” Reynolds said. “It's a great way to show soldiers that
people back home care for them, and it's also a great reminder for them that
there are a lot of people that support them back home.” |
The idea behind the Soldiers' Blessing Store was to provide soldiers who aren't
close to a post exchange with a perpetual care package, giving them home-baked
goods, reading materials and essentials such as hygiene products.
“A lot of soldiers don't receive care packages on a regular basis, and in this
case, it's a continual care package from the people back home,” said Capt.
Jonathan Hilton, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., who serves with the 4th
Infantry Division's 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade
“In addition to that,” he continued, “there are a lot of soldiers who are at
joint security stations or forward operating bases where there isn't a PX, so
when they come here they can come in and get stuff like hygiene products and
morale things like books and homemade brownies.”
This not only boosts soldiers' morale, but also helps them a little economically
as well. “It's just a great thing to be able to do something like this. It's a
practical thing to save soldiers some money,” Reynolds said.
This huge operation requires a lot of coordination, Reynolds said. Members of
his family and many others have worked tirelessly to get the goods, which have
an estimated value of more than $40,000, to the store so far.
“My Aunt Merna in Bay City, Texas, has a lot of connections that she works
through to get this stuff over here,” Reynolds said. “It's like we're doing
[those who give] a service by taking their donations. To me that speaks volumes.
And believe you me, they get very excited having the opportunity to do this for
Downplaying his own efforts, Reynolds explained that the people back home who
have given their time are the true champions of the operation.
“I'm not the hero,” Reynolds said. “The heroes are the folks back home. All I do
is facilitate and provide an avenue for the folks back home to do their part in
supporting our soldiers. Without their help and support, it couldn't happen.”
Army Sgt. Whitney Houston
American Forces Press Service
(Army Sgt. Whitney Houston serves in the Multinational
Division Baghdad Public Affairs Office.)
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