By 2nd Lt. Nate Woolsey
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Units under I Corps have a robust outreach program to connect soldiers with the surrounding communities in an effort to give back to those who support the installation.
“Our community supports us quite a bit. They’ve really given a lot to us over the past 10 years. It’s great for us to get a chance to give back to them,” said Lt. Col. Brian Wortinger, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division squadron commander.
Troop C, 8-1 Cavalry, known as Comanche Troop by approximately 90 soldiers who comprise the organization, hosted a community connector event Aug. 29, which helped foster a relationship that made the life of one struggling teenager a little easier.
Anthony Fellows is a member of the Young Businessmen Organization, which focuses on at-risk males aged 14 to 17 who are driven, motivated, and desire a better, brighter future.
The Comanche Troop soldiers first met Fellows when the Troop hosted the YBM for a day on JBLM, Aug. 29, to give members the opportunity to see what life is like as a soldier.
Fellows is a student, running back, and Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadet at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., and until recently, he would wake up at 4 a.m. and make a six-mile trek to school.
Around 8 p.m. on a September night, 2nd Lt. Alex Harris, platoon leader of third platoon, Comanche Troop, was driving home from work and noticed Fellows walking alone on the side of the road. Recognizing Fellows from YBM, Harris pulled over and offered him a ride, where he discovered the struggle Fellows goes through daily just to get to school.
Harris told his commander, Capt. Mike Hebert, about his encounter with Fellows, and his idea to raise money to buy him a bike and cycling equipment to help with the six miles he travels to get to and from school.
“When Lieutenant Harris told me this story, my heart melted,” said Hebert.
With the help of 1st Sgt. Steven Laduha, Comanche Troop first sergeant, Harris rallied the 90 soldiers comprising the troop together to raise approximately $400 for a new bike and cycling gear for Fellows.
The Troop presented the bike and equipment to Fellows during a presentation ceremony Sept. 24.
"From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everybody here. It means a lot to get something like this. I never thought I could buy something like this myself, or that anyone would ever do something like this for me. Thank you,” said Fellows to a resounding “Hooah!”
Fellows lives with his 19-year-old brother who supports the two of them with a job at T-Mobile. With only one car, he had to walk to school each day. In spite of this adversity, he has made it a point to better himself.