Giving back to those who have given so much for us
For the last four years, the Chugiak Lions have provided not only a fabulous Easter Dinner but also treats from the Easter Bunny for the families and soldiers in the Wounded Warriors Transition Unit at Fort Richardson.
It was a simple request to the Commander as to what could we do for our local heroes. All they asked was for a “home cooked meal.” Thus, four years ago started the annual tradition of providing Lucky Wishbone a plenty, baked beans, potato salad, corn, biscuits with dessert galore and a visit from the Easter Bunny.
There were about 75 troops who were in attendance with their families. The plan was for 50-60, which turned into 110. But not to worry — the Lions had it handled. There was enough food for the troops to take back to their barracks and enjoy for the rest of the day.
Although JBER provides the soldiers with a grand Easter dinner in the chow hall, many wounded soldiers find it difficult to attend. Some are on crutches, or use canes and many are bandaged where getting dressed to attend the chow hall is difficult. This Easter dinner takes place on the first floor of their barracks and they can attend in attire comfortable for them. Some soldiers assigned to the group are married and bring their families as well.
As is customary with The Chugiak Lions, they enjoy spending time visiting with the soldiers to hear where they were from, what their plans for the future are, and to show our appreciation for all they have given for us.
The Chugiak Lions are just one of many organizations which help our wounded soldiers’ transition back into to civilian life. Christian Garrett, of the Soldiers and Family Assistance Center, helps coordinate groups on projects to help our local heroes. The center focuses on the entire military family. There are organizations throughout the area that spend their resources taking wounded soldiers on fishing and hunting trips, groups that provide new baby kits to new military moms, a quilting group, as well as many other organizations that give a little something back to those who have given so much more.
If you are interested in getting involved with our wounded warriors, you can contact one of our local Lions Clubs to see if you can assist them in their many projects. It is truly a rewarding experience to shake the hand of a soldier who appreciates your efforts and know that you are making a difference in their life. A brief time with these soldiers will change your life forever.
This column is the opinion of Karen Burns of the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions. For more information about Lions, call 242-1129.