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Soldiers distribute wheelchairs

By U.S. Army Grant Okubo Spc., MND-N PAO

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Lt. Col. Dennis Yates, battalion commander, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), and Col. Ahmed Ehbrahim Bedor, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division (center), pose for pictures with three Baghdad residents who received free wheelchairs from the Iraqi Army in Schmook Village, Jan. 3. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Grant T. Okubo, 4th IBCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div.)
Lt. Col. Dennis Yates, battalion commander, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), and Col. Ahmed Ehbrahim Bedor, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division (center), pose for pictures with three Baghdad residents who received free wheelchairs from the Iraqi Army in Schmook Village, Jan. 3. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Grant T. Okubo, 4th IBCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div.)

FOB RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq (Jan. 12, 2008) — Villagers gathered as Iraqi Army Soldiers distributed wheelchairs to disabled Iraqi citizens in Schmook Village, Jan. 3.

Iraqi Army Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, handed out 50 wheelchairs to disabled Baghdad residents, many of whom are military veterans injured in the Iran-Iraq war, said Maj. Steve Smith of the 1st Bn., 4th Bde., 1st IA Div.Military Transition Team.

As the Soldiers distributed the wheelchairs, U.S. Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division who accompanied the IA troops said they saw many smiling Iraqi faces.

The wheelchair distribution in Schmook Village is the first of two such humanitarian efforts in the area. Another 50 wheelchairs will be given to villagers next week, said Smith. Another project is in the works to fix the local swimming pool, which has been out of use for about three years, he added.

"It’s not only a swimming pool for the kids, but it is a therapeutic pool for the amputees," said Smith, adding that the Schmook villagers were "very grateful" to receive the wheelchairs.

The villagers in Schmook who needed and received the wheelchairs can thank Iraqi Army Col. Ahmed Ehbrahim Bedor for the operation, Smith said.

"He provided security, he set up the locations for the chairs, brought families forward and greeted them and ensured that everyone that deserved a chair got a chair," said Smith.