Dowagiac troops enjoy pieces of homePublished 4:31pm Monday, July 23, 2012
The Dowagiac unit of Michigan’s Army National Guard received a little piece of home recently when they opened several boxes of goodies and essentials sent by Dowagiac Union High School’s Interact Club.
The C/1-126th Calvary troop, stationed in a remote area of southern Afghanistan, is based out of Dowagiac, with several soldiers coming from every corner of southwest Michigan. According to Capt. Mark Grant, the timing of the packages was “impeccable.” The troop, who suffered injuries after a roadside bomb attack in late May, welcomed the supplies and goodies three days after their dining hall was destroyed.
DUHS graduate Lauren Krueger, former Interact Club president, sent a letter along with the boxes to let the soldiers know how many local businesses and individuals contributed to the care packages. Grant responded in a letter to Krueger, saying the kindness and support of the community of Dowagiac has helped the troop realize “there’s no place like home.”
For Pvt. Troy Fry, of Edwardsburg, the packages’ value greatened after the attack that injured 10 of his fellow soldiers.
“We all were thinking of those back home who care for us,” Fry said in an email. “It makes us all appreciate the support that we have gotten so far, even before a disaster.”
Spc. Chris Johnson, 23, of Whitehall, agreed, saying the packages let them know how many people in southwest Michigan truly cared.
“It really helps remind us that even though we are over here, we still have people taking the time and effort to show their support and that we aren’t forgotten,” Johnson said.
Among the essential items, such as Q-tips and baby wipes, the soldiers received a bag full of snacks and treats, something Spc. Charles Watson, of Otsego, said was just as helpful.
“The best part of those care packages was the pictures and letters sent along with the snacks,” Watson said. “The most useful item … definitely the fruit snacks.”
After the destruction of their base’s dining hall, items such as granola bars, fruit snacks, Ramen noodles, peanuts and Clif bars supplemented their field rations.
C/1-126th Calvary troop will return to the U.S. in mid-September. Until then, the soldiers expressed thanks and appreciation to the Interact Club, local businesses and elementary school students who drew pictures and wrote cards.
“There is no greater feeling then knowing that the people back home are thinking (of us) and support what we do,” Johnson said.
Watson agreed, giving a small shout-out to those who helped make the packages.
“I would like to say thank you to all who participated,” Watson said. “Your display of support really makes the difference for us out here and enables us to do what we need to do on a daily basis. It reminds us what we are fighting for.”