News: Soldier hosts clothes distribution for Temple veterans
Story by Sgt. Angel Turner
FORT HOOD, Texas — So often has the Army been compared to a family that takes care of its own that the whole idea has become cliché.
But in keeping with that ideal, the 89th Military Police Brigade provided winter clothes to needy veterans at the Veterans Affairs Domiciliary in Temple, Dec. 12.
Sgt. Jeremy Odom, the 89th MP Bde.’s public affairs noncommissioned officer in charge, organized this year’s event.
Initially spearheaded by a fellow MP Bde., soldier who has since moved to another duty station, Odom stepped up to the plate to continue the good deed.
“I didn’t want it to go by the wayside, because there is a great need, so I picked up the reins and ran with it and combined it with dinner,” said Odom, a native of Phoenix.
When the distribution originally started in Christmas 2011, only soldiers from the 89th MP Bde. donated clothing. The collection has since expanded to twice a year - during the spring and winter. As news the brigade’s efforts spread, other units across the installation, as well as local businesses and organizations, joined in to provide donations as well.
Odom also teamed up with the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program to make this winter season a warm one.
Tables overflowing with jackets, clothes and personal hygiene items lined the room. In fact, Odom had to make about five trips to the VA Center to haul all the donations.
“This is really wonderful,” said Azmon Dunham, a WWII and Navy Veteran. “This is how we support each other in this country.”
The veterans received gloves, scarves, hats, shoes, and various articles of clothing.
Odom said in past events the veterans were limited three or four articles of clothing. This year there was enough women’s, men’s, and kid’s clothing to fill up bags for each individual.
“Not only are we providing clothes for them, but we can actually thank and honor them, because they are the ones that paved the road for us,” he said. “They’re the ones that laid down the foundation and bricks for us. Now they’re the ones going through hard times, and we can do this little thing for them to try to give back. And when we do, I think in return we receive a lot more.”
“It takes a lot to have someone not only care for themselves but for us also,” said Kermit Maxwell, an Army veteran in need of assistance. “This really helps takes off a lot of the stress we have.”
Maxwell said he is hoping to be in a position to do something similar in the future for other veterans needing assistance.
In addition to receiving clothing, veterans received a holiday meal to include dressing, macaroni and turkey.
“I just got lifted,” said Jefrie Roberson, a Navy veteran, who also said life has been a struggle for him. “I’ve been in a down mood lately.”
Tasting the food on his plate, Roberson smiled and added, “This almost tastes like Momma’s.”
The leftover clothes will be given to the Waco Veteran Affairs office, he said. But he also suggests that any soldiers with gently used clothing drop them off at the VA hospital to help out their fellow veterans.
“Today was a huge success,” Odom said. “We had over 60 coats, and we have only a couple left.”
In the future, Odom said he would like to see more participation from active-duty soldiers and to be able hold more than two clothing distribution events per year.