News: Soldiers celebrate Easter with community connecter partner
Story by Spc. Kimberly Lessmeister
PARKLAND, Wash., – Sometimes during family-oriented holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, soldiers turn to their military “families” when they can’t get home to see loved ones.
For soldiers with 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, they also have the help of a loyal community connector partner.
Soldiers in the battalion and their families celebrated Easter with an egg hunt and dinner with members of American Legion Post 2, April 8, here.
The two groups came together when Company C, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Regt., received the American Legion as their Adopt-A-Company partner before the unit deployed to Iraq in 2009.
The Adopt-A-Company program started as a community relations initiative, offering communities around Joint Base Lewis-McChord an opportunity to support the Stryker soldiers and their families during the yearlong deployment.
The American Legion, a not-for-profit veteran’s organization committed to mentoring youth and advocating patriotism, went above and beyond the program’s required support.
Once 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. redeployed, members of 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Regt. kept in close contact with the American Legion.
“We try to do whatever we can to support [the soldiers in the battalion] and their families both here and deployed,” said Keith Foley, the adjutant of American Legion Post 2.
Last year, the Legion hosted events for the battalion including a 4th of July barbecue, a Christmas party, and a Thanksgiving dinner.
“We try to cover each major holiday,” Foley said, explaining those are the times when soldiers miss their families the most.
“All Legion members have been in the same situation; we’re all prior service, so we have that common bond,” he continued. “Even though it’s different wars, you’re still deployed somewhere.”
Staff Sgt. Joseph Middlebrooks, a platoon sergeant with C Company, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Regt., has attended events held by American Legion before and said the events are good for both soldiers’ relationships with their leaders as well as the unit’s relationship with the community.
“I just got brand new soldiers and they’re here [at the Easter event]. They see me here, see leadership here, and know there’s … an internal bond with community,” said Middlebrooks.
“It feels good knowing the community still has our back,” he added. “Being that they used to be in our shoes, they know we’re not forgetting them either.”