News: 261st Signal Company helps West Texas Food Bank
Story by Staff Sgt. Casey McGeorge
EL PASO, Texas – A platoon from 261st Signal Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade willingly volunteers their time to help those less fortunate than themselves. The soldiers who volunteer from 261st spend every Tuesday volunteering at the West Texas Food Bank.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Dent, a joint network node platoon sergeant, initially came up with the idea.
“I wanted to develop a sense of community involvement and pride in my platoon,” said Dent. “Most of all, I wanted us to help people.”
The members of Dent’s platoon all willingly volunteer their time.
“I wanted them to do it for all the right reasons, and so far, everyone is,” said Dent. “Once you do something like this, you start looking for other opportunities to help out. When you do one good deed, eventually it spreads to other things.”
“This really related to me more than some of the other soldiers,” said specialist Stacey Clark, a nodal network systems operator/maintainer. “There were times before I came in the military that my family and I didn’t always have food.”
The food bank is a distribution center for food donations from major retailers in the El Paso area, said Ruben Sanchez, deputy director of the food bank.
“We then make sure the food is still good and give it to agencies that redistribute it into the community,” continued Sanchez.
Sanchez and the food bank are always extremely happy to have involvement from soldiers and anyone else in the community who wants to give their time.
“Volunteerism keeps our costs down,” said Sanchez. “We always appreciate the military coming in and helping our cause. We appreciate the fact that they give back to the same community they are in as well as protect our country.”
Soldiers of the 261st may not always see the direct results of their efforts, but they know that the community can feel them.
“When you are in El Paso and you see people lined up, you think back to the time that you gave,” said Sgt. Sean Manley, a multichannel transmission systems operator/maintainer. “It makes you feel good inside.”
These same soldiers are also helping solidify positive relations within the community with the time they volunteer.
“Doing this makes me feel better as a soldier and as a person,” said Spc. Elizabeth Cummins, a signal support systems specialist. “Sometimes you see soldiers in town in uniform getting glares. Hopefully from now on, when they see soldiers in uniform, they can think of those of us that are helping out in the community.”