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Volunteering for a better Afghanistan: Soldiers donate time, goods to locals

By Sgt. William Begley , RC-East PAO

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 29, 2012) — Several Soldiers volunteered their time and energy to hand out donated goods to local Afghans at the El Salam Egyptian Theater Hospital on Bagram Airfield, March 27.

The program, called Operation Care, is a volunteer organization comprised of military and civilian members serving in the Afghanistan theater of operations, said U.S. Army Capt. Kenyarda Chambers, a native of Alexandria, La., and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Theatre Tactical Signal Brigade, Task Force Signal commander.

 Chambers is Operation Care president in Afghanistan and added the program is dedicated to the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and Coalition Forces located on remote Forward Operating Bases who don’t receive care packages on a regular basis.

The volunteers distributed bags of clothing and various personal hygiene products along with snacks and toys for the children.

U.S. Army Maj. Debra Doolittle of Milwaukee, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Poseidon information technology officer, enjoys volunteering. She helped the other volunteers to fill the bags of clothing and goods the night before the operation.

“This gives the local nationals another viewpoint of Coalition Forces,” said Doolittle. “This is one of those good news stories that you don’t hear about. We’re doing good things here and showing the locals that we’re good people. We are providing for those that don’t have because we care.”

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Herbert Duvernay of San Jose, Calif., HHC, 11th TTSB, TF Signal, highly recommends that servicemembers volunteer for causes like Operation Care.

“It’s my job to make sure that my Soldiers are mentally, physically and spiritually fit,” Duvernay said. “We’re trying to do something positive in this world. We try to spread the good. It has a positive effect.”

Some servicemembers who are deployed have free time that they need to fill. Most agree time goes by faster when they stay busy. Little things like volunteering help pass the time and make them feel great while doing it.

That’s one of the reasons why U.S. Army Spc. Alexandra Kaaihue, an administrative clerk with the 11th TTSB, TF Signal, is a volunteer. It helps her keep things in perspective.

“It feels awesome to share what we take for granted as Americans,” said Kaaihue, who hails from Mannheim, Germany.  “Some of these people don’t even have shoes. We have so much that we take for granted daily that it makes me feel like I’m giving something back if just one of these families can use what’s in these bags.”