Wounded Warriors: Giving to those who have given so much
Thanksgiving came early this year to the wounded warriors stationed in the Wounded Warriors Transition Barracks at Fort Richardson. Over four years ago the Chugiak Lions asked their commander what the club could do for our local heroes. To the Lions’ surprise, the answer was a “home cooked meal”. This started an annual tradition of providing the wounded warriors a Thanksgiving Dinner and another dinner at Easter.
Although the base provides the soldiers with a grand Thanksgiving 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 dress to attend the chow hall is difficult. This Thanksgiving 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.
So on Saturday, November 12th, the Chugiak Lions met at the Eagle River Lion’s Den with turkeys, hams, cans of green beans, potatoes and all the other trimmings for a Thanksgiving dinner. Potato peels flew and gravy thickened on the stove. In addition to cooking, individual Thank You cards were furnished with a calling card for the troops to call home during the holidays. Trucks and cars were loaded up and the caravan headed out to Fort Richardson. The First Sergeant welcomed the crowd at the barracks and a Thanksgiving prayer started the feast. The Chugiak Lions spent time visiting with many of the soldiers to hear where they were from, what their plans for the future were, and to show our appreciation for all they have given.
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 in the valley 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, please contact Christian Garrett at 907-384-7322 or email him at [email protected] to find out the many ways you can make a contribution. You may also contact one of the local area 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.
For more information on Lions, contact Amy Demboski at 301-9179