JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers regularly change duty stations every couple of years, which gives them the chance to travel and experience different parts of the world.
Consequently, it can also cause them to feel disconnected from their local community.
Not for soldiers with 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade, however.
The battalion consistently takes part in volunteer opportunities with the Boys & Girls Club in Tumwater, Wash.
Soldiers with 308th BSB visited the club to present a donation and help the staff with their daily activities, June 13.
The donation, almost $600, was raised specifically for the club during a battalion golf scramble, said Lt. Col. Gary Spearow, an Olsburg, Kan., native and the 308th BSB commander.
Over the last couple of years, Spearow has been very active with giving soldiers volunteer opportunities to help the Boys & Girls Club staff.
Because of training, the unit hasn’t been able to volunteer as much, and the donation was a way to get back into it, said Warrant Officer Jeffrey Springer, a Radcliff, Ky., native and brigade ammunition officer with the 308th BSB.
“We want to continue that because it’s important,” Springer said. “Getting out there shows that we do more than just military stuff, that we do care about the community."
Which is why the unit didn’t just send a check in the mail, but wanted to actually present the donation with soldiers, Springer said.
The presentation was important for soldiers that didn’t participate in the golf scramble, like Sgt. Kenneth Eichler, a Marysville, Calif., native and squad leader with Company B, 308th BSB.
Eichler isn’t a fan of golf, but he didn’t want that to stop him from contributing to a great organization.
As one of the soldiers visiting for the presentation, he took the opportunity to play basketball with the children and help build their confidence by missing a few shots on purpose, without making it too easy of course.
“Being able to go there and help and just share my free time, it was a good experience,” Eichler said.
While Eichler wasn’t part of a Boys & Girls Club growing up, he remembers what it was like to be a child and recognizes the impact soldiers can make in the community by simply showing children they are important and taking some time to play a round of basketball with them.
Eichler said he would definitely encourage his brothers- and sisters-in-arms to take advantage of volunteer opportunities and to get more involved in the community, whether it be participating in fundraisers or simply missing a few shots on the basketball court to make a child’s day a little brighter.