FORT BLISS, Texas - The soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “Ready First” 1st Armored Division, participated in a food drive held on the “Ready First” Parade Field to benefit the Junior Enlisted Family Center on June 24.
The food drive was a BOSS competition held amongst the Ready First battalions with two categories; most food donated by one battalion and best display.
The food drive was scored with each standard canned item worth one point and starches (macaroni and cheese, potatoes and noodles) or canned meat products being worth two points. The battalions were also encouraged to make a display with their donated items to be judged by the Ready First Command Sergeant Major, Russell K. Reimers.
Scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m., the food drive was off to a slow start with only one company in attendance until around 12:30 p.m. when Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, “Rifles,” 1/1 AD arrived on the field. Showing their charity and goodwill, the soldier’s of A Company unloaded over 5,000 points worth of food. This mountain of consumables was added to over the next hour by the other “Rifles” companies and led to a more than 2 to 1 drubbing of the rest of the battalions for the most food donated category.
The Rifles were proud to claim the victory in the most food donated category and the soldiers were rewarded for their efforts with a four day pass. The real reward though was helping their fellow soldiers who are in need.
“It’s not about the four day,” said Capt. Charlie P. Rowan, commander of A Company, Rifles, “these soldiers understand that they could be in a bad situation someday themselves.” “We wanted to pay it forward,” he added.
Although the Rifles won the donated food category, the soldiers of the 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, “Blackhawks,” 1/1 AD, dominated the display category.
Even though their donation of 6,000 points was not enough to win, the Blackhawks incorporated two Strykers, the company and battalion guidons and a large banner in their display. The Blackhawks then used their food donations to make a recreation of the unit’s branch insignia and the beginning of the famous Cavalry slogan “if you ain’t Cav ...”
After the competition was over, the 18,000 plus points worth of food collected was packed up and taken to the Junior Enlisted Family Center, which provides a 24-hour emergency food pantry.
“This is the largest unit donation we have ever received,” said Nina Carey, the Coordinator of the Junior Enlisted Family Center. “I’ve never seen this much food come in at one time,” she added.
“The food pantry was running low and this will really help out,” said Carey.
The Junior Enlisted Family Center, located at building #51 on Slater Road, is open Tuesday thru Friday, noon until 5:00 pm. The center accepts donations of clothing, diapers, furniture, household items and sealed non-perishable food.