KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Deployed soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, gathered at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 5, 2013 to thank a group of volunteers who teamed together to send a load of care packages just in time for the holiday season.
The Healdsburg Supporting Our Soldiers group, located in Healdsburg, Calif., gathered donations and offerings from the local community and teamed up to package and deliver a shipment of 450 care packages.
The group has worked diligently over the last couple of months to put together packages that will eventually be distributed to 4th Inf. Div. soldiers as well as other soldiers around bases in the Regional Command (South) area.
Leadership and available soldiers from the deployed element of the HHBN, 4th Inf. Div., sat down to video chat with the group, who will soon mail the packages off.
Lieutenant Colonel Brad Wambeke, the commander of HHBN, 4th Inf. Div., expressed his gratitude on behalf of the deployed soldiers.
“I just want to thank you all for the work you have done and what the community has been able to do for us,” he said, addressing the group via video chat. “It truly is an honor to serve and we all cannot thank you enough; your work and donations are truly a blessing.”
Mary St. Clair, the head of Healdsburg SOS, along with a team of former service members and local civilians, coordinated with nearly a dozen police stations to serve as drop off stations where local residents could donate.
She informed all the soldiers how much work and effort her team has put in to make the donation possible.
“It has been great working with everyone, I cannot tell you how proud I am of the group we have here,” St. Clair said. “Everyone has been working so hard, packaging, sorting and labeling boxes. We really have a great group.”
St. Clair, whose son Brad served as a forward observer with 4th Inf. Div. in Iraq in 2006, has been working with the group since its start in 2004.
“I just want to thank you all for what you are doing for us, and our own,” St. Clair said.
Soldiers got the chance to introduce themselves and tell a little bit about what they do while deployed in Afghanistan.
Volunteers also asked questions and shared laughs with the Soldiers in attendance.
A Vietnam veteran of the group asked, “Who replaced Bob Hope?” as soldiers laughed during the early morning video chat.
As the session came to a close, smiles brightened the room, and Wambeke thanked the group once more.
“Once again I just want to thank you for all of this, your efforts have been amazing,” he said. “We are all so very appreciative for what you all have done for and continue to do for the soldiers overseas.”