Help from home
Soldiers from the New York National Guard delivered supplies family and friends had sent them to an Afghan school located in a Kabul province village east of the nation’s capital.
Members of SECFOR Charlie comprising mostly members of Company B, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry from Bayshore, Long Island, delivered more than 500 pounds of donations to the Pol-e-charki high school on 17 November. The supplies were organized into student packs that included paper, notebooks, pens and pencils, crayons and markers that were assembled by the SECFOR soldiers from the many shipments they received. Candy, bookmarks, stuffed animals, some adult clothing for the teachers, soccer and volleyballs were also handed out.
The donations were shipped to the soldiers based at Camp Blackhorse, which is co-located with the Afghan National Army’s Pol-e-charki garrison nearby. The troops are part of Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-Central. This command provides advisors and mentors to the ANA and the Afghan National Police in this area as part of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix mission to grow and develop Afghanistan’s National Security Forces. The SECFOR troops provide security for the trainers and mentors during operations and convoys.
During the humanitarian support mission to the school, Afghan soldiers helped unload and distribute the supplies to the children. This is part of the plan to build bonds of trust at the local level among the people and their army and police forces. While the SECFOR soldiers received and packaged the donations, members of the Embedded Training Teams coordinated with the ANA and the school principal and staff.
Several unit members received considerable quantities from family, friends and community groups back in New York. Private First Class John Gallup of Mechanicville, Spec. Christyan Valentine of the Bronx, 1st Lt. Christopher Terian of Buffalo, 1st Lt. Jared Jensen of Ballston Spa, and Spec. Cody Davis of Syracuse received many packages from home. The balls were donated by Herkimer County Community College. Other soldiers handed out items they purchased on their own.
“This is the last big project SECFOR Charlie has planned before returning home,” said Lt. Jensen. “This was a project we have been working on for three months.”
Lt. Jensen took in the largest quantity of donations mostly from family members in Idaho, Utah, Texas, and New York.
“My sister also coordinated a service project with the Kingwood, Texas, ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They sent about 150 pounds of school supplies and candy,” he said. “Her youth group pulled this together.”
Lt. Col. Paul Fanning is submitting photos to accompany this blog in a gallery, "Pictures from the Front." To view the most recent photos, which accompany this blog entry, click here. To view the entire gallery, click here.