News: SD Guard members volunteer for Day of Caring
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Beck
RAPID CITY, S.D. - Twenty-four South Dakota National Guardsmen were part of about 900 Rapid City community members who volunteered their time to assist neighbors and local support organizations as part of the United Way of the Black Hills Day of Caring on Thursday, Sept. 5. A total of 86 teams, including three from the SDNG, volunteered time and labor on 83 projects around the Black Hills area.
The United Way of the Black Hills kicks off their fundraising campaign each year with a day in which community members and organizations provide their time on various projects around the Black Hills.The United Way set this year’s goal at $1,945,000 and actively works with 41 Black Hills groups, providing them with financial support and with volunteers to help keep them running smoothly. These groups include the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ellsworth Air Force Base Youth Center, the Salvation Army and Lutheran Social Services.
Two teams of eight South Dakota National Guard members volunteered their time to spend the day landscaping, staining and doing demolition work at the new YMCA Y-Camp located on Highway 385, near Pactola Lake. The third team, from the 109th Regional Support Group, assisted an elderly Rapid City couple with yard work and some repairs on the exterior of their home.
“I have been volunteering since I got started just helping the spouse of a deployed soldier remodel a bathroom,” said Staff Sgt. David Goodwin, leader of one of the Guard teams. “It is being a part of something bigger than myself and being able to give back to the community that brings me back every year.”
In addition to the manual labor provided during its Day of Caring, the United Way’s primary mission is to raise money, and then distribute it to many of the area’s leading non-profit agencies that provide help to people in need.
“The goal of our organization is to take care of soldiers and their families,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Strang, team leader of another Guard team. “This is a way for us to go out into the communities and help those families, to give back to them and say thanks for loaning us their soldiers during deployments.”