News: Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon helps alleviate stress and spending
Story by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 716th Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), received a shipment of care packages from the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon.
The Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon is a private non-profit group from New Jersey that supports units all over theater, said 1st Lt. Herbert Karg, the 716th QM Company executive officer.
In December, the 716th QM Company received four Christmas trees from the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, Karg said.
"The first of many care packages to come, the Christmas trees added a little Christmas cheer to the newly arrived company," he said.
On Jan. 27, another 12 boxes of goodies arrived for the Soldiers, Karg said. They included everything from coffee and creamer to snacks, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, batteries, and playing cards.
"The small gesture provided a big impact," Karg said.
The contents not only provide a little boost in morale, but they serve a practical purpose as well.
The company collects and organizes the contents and leaves them on 'free-for-all' shelves in the company area, and Soldiers can take any items they need, Karg explained.
Spc. Jorge Olivo, an Iraqi Transportation Network team member and a Jersey City, N.J., native, said that he is very appreciative of the free item shelves at the company operations center.
"It's really great," Olivo said. "I can come in here and grab a tube of toothpaste or shaving cream and I don't have to pay for it."
In addition to personal hygiene items, there were other items that ranked high on the importance list for some Soldiers.
Cans of coffee and coffee creamer soon disappeared from the shelves once they were discovered, and other snack foods were also gone in record time, Karg said.
"I needed some batteries for my camera so I checked at the TOC first to see if they had any, and they did so now I don't have to pay for them," said Sgt. Charles Washington, fuel supply specialist at the JBB fuel farm and Jersey City, N.J., native.
Staff Sgt. Steven Wright, the 716th QM Co. tactical operations center non-commissioned officer in charge and Jersey City, N.J., native, helped to unpack the care packages when they arrived.
"It's nice that we have such good support back home, to help alleviate some of our Soldiers spending and to boost morale," Wright said. "We all get smiles on our faces when we see these boxes come in."
The Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon is just one of the many groups that send the company care packages, and they plan to send one shipment of packages per month to the 716th QM Company, said Karg.