News: Soldiers donate to Santa’s Castle effort
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Exchanging gifts and spending time with family and friends traditionally makes the holidays brighter. But to some, giving to those less fortunate is more meaningful than receiving gifts.
“It’s exciting seeing everyone in the Christmas spirit and eager to donate toys,” said Persuad, a native of Jacksonville, Fla.
Spc. Refino Persaud, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, took part in the Santa’s Castle Ruck March Dec. 2.
The three-mile ruck march, which features soldiers dressed in their Christmas flair and decorative rucks ends at the American Lake Community Center, where they donate toys to Santa’s Castle. Santa’s Castle distributes the toys to service members with children experiencing financial difficulty throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Persaud explained with passion how he not only got to perform an Army task, but also received the enjoyment of helping others and giving to those he believes appreciates the toys.
“It’s just a good thing to do,” Persaud said. “Not only do I enjoy donating, but also seeing the smiles of kids enjoying the toys.”
The young and spunky Persaud accessorized his uniform with a red Santa hat and scarf.
Persaud explained he is looking forward to this Christmas because several of his friends he has made during his career will be visiting him for the holiday.
“This is the first time we will all get to spend the holiday together,” Persaud said. “We will exchange gifts and share many laughs.”
Sgt. Christopher Molstad, assigned to 585th Pipeline Company, 864th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade, also took part in the event.
The Army believes in soldiers fully living up to seven values, and Molstad, a native of San Angelo, Texas, reflected on how self- fulfilled he is to know that he is doing something positive for the military community.
“It’s said that non-commissioned officers are the backbone of the Army, but in my opinion families are the backbone,” said Molstad.
Molstad explained that in his opinion selfless service is the value that stands out most, because it means to give or serve regardless of your own situation.
The Santa’s Castle representatives are appreciative of the soldiers and their contributions for a worthy cause.
“I think it’s fantastic, mostly because I love the way soldiers help out one another,” said Janna Haycock, Santa’s Castle volunteer coordinator.
Janna exemplified confidence as she explained that they received over 1,200 applicants and plan to meet the needs of each of them.
Along with Persaud and Molstad, more than 700 soldiers from the 555th Engineer Brigade participated with the mindset to ensure that others have a joyous holiday.