News: Guam Guardsman raises money for typhoon relief
Story by Sgt. Edward Siguenza
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan - A Guam Army National Guardsman stepped forward to raise funds to support his previous home that was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan several days before the powerful storm struck the Philippines last month.
Sgt. McMillan "Kit" Kitalong, a fire team leader for Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, donated $600 to the American Red Cross to aid the Republic of Palau, a south Pacific nation. Upon hearing that Palau's northern islands were severely struck, Kitalong sought financial assistance from his squad and platoon members. They responded earnestly, giving more than what he had expected.
"That's my island. I told myself I got to help out," said Kitalong, born in Koror, Palau, and now a Guam resident. "The northern part got destroyed. I just felt bad. I said I got to do something about it."
Kitalong spoke to his leaders about organizing a fundraiser and they supported him. He went around his unit and received a significant response.
"Every little bit will help a community recover from a natural disaster," said Capt. Joey C. San Nicolas, Echo Company commander. "This is Kit's home. He wanted to do something for his home. This is very honorable of him given he's dedicated to this mission in Afghanistan."
Typhoon Haiyan was a Category 5 storm when it ravaged the Philippines days after hitting Palau. The Philippine disaster still draws global attention as worldwide aid responds to the Asian nation.
The super storm is known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.
According to the Office of the President, Republic of Palau, no casualties were reported in Kayangel, a north Palau island. However, all homes were destroyed.
"I talked to my chain of command about getting a donation going. I just asked around the company, especially my squad, and everyone was willing to help," Kitalong said.
The Office of the President, Republic of Palau, estimated almost $6 million in damages as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. Approximately 415 homes were damaged, with nearly 40 completely destroyed, the statement said.
This is Kitalong's second Operation Enduring Freedom stint in Afghanistan. He was based at Farah province in 2009 and even got naturalized as an American citizen there.
Kitalong has been a Guam Guardsman since 2005.