April 22, 2009

Soldiers assist faith-based groups, provide Soldier care

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — Soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard volunteered to assist local faith-based organizations to in turn help out fellow Guardsmen. Eight Virginia Guardsmen met at the Swift Creek Baptist Church April 16 to help load up boxes and drive them to the post office where they would then be shipped to Afghanistan.

  276th donations

Sgt. Daryl Caskey hands a box of care packages to Sgt. Mark Endy to place on the truck. The two sergeants were both given a coin of excellence from Brig. Gen. Eugene Stockton for volunteering. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The 88 boxes, prepared by the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, will be shipped overseas to the Soldiers of the Richmond-based 276th Engineers Battalion. Each box contains several kits with a total of 1093 actual kits total. The Soldiers of the 276th will find in their boxes, a DVD, snacks, candy and a personal note of encouragement.

Churches from across the commonwealth came together and packaged these boxes for the troops. Sixty-six churches in all helped facilitate the packing of these boxes and will also pay for all of the postage to ship the boxes to Afghanistan, according to Chaplain (Maj.) J.D. Moore.

Two Soldiers received coins of excellence for their service assisting their brothers-in-arms. Sgt. Mark Endy and Sgt. Daryl Caskey were presented with the coins from Brig. Gen. Eugene Stockton.

  276th donations

Sgt. Estelle Christiansen affixes labels to boxes while volunteering to assist a faith-based group send care packages overseas. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“This was a good opportunity for Soldiers to come and support faith based-groups throughout the commonwealth to help with the War on Terrorism,” said Moore.

The 276th Engineers mobilized in December 2008. The primary mission of the unit is projected to be providing command and control for one active Army combat engineer company based out of Germany and three National Guard combat engineer companies from Michigan, California, and Wisconsin that will be providing route clearance and improvised explosive device defeat to coalition forces in Afghanistan.

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