Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: October, 2015 (3) Currently Viewing: 1 - 3 of 3

October 9, 2015 at 10:31am

555 Able fund helps all

Being able to commit to an ideal is a worthy endeavor.

That's the reason why there is a 555 Able Soldier and Family Fund to support the soldiers and families of the 555th Engineer Brigade, or Triple Nickel.

The brigade's motto is "Willing and Able."

The brigade is comprised of three battalions totaling more than 4,000 soldiers and their families:  the 864th Engineer Battalion, the 3rd Explosive Ordinance Disposal Battalion, and the 110th Chemical Battalion.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization begun a decade ago, the 555 Able Soldier and Family Fund is operated by military families and retired military members. Its purpose is to provide goods and services to the families of soldiers killed or wounded in action and their families as they recover.

"We are committed to ensure that soldiers and their families are taken care of in their time of need," Dennis Bowers, chairperson of the fund and the brigade's honorary command sergeant major, wrote in an email.

Bowers knows well the history of the engineers, or sappers, that he helps support.

Military engineering is the oldest of the engineering skills and a precursor to the profession of civil engineering. A sapper (the word means to dig or entrench) is a soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as building bridges, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defenses and general construction.

They are also trained to serve as infantry in defensive and offensive operations.

"The fund was created when the 555th Engineer Brigade deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait," Bowers wrote."There was a need for funeral help; there was a need for memorial boxes and flowers for memorial services; there was a need for care packages and assistance for families to travel in order to be with other family members."

Donations have also been used to purchase the Brigade's Memorial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Reflection Park and the wreaths that commemorate those lost in battle.

"There is nothing more important than taking care of and remembering the soldiers and their families who have served in this great brigade," Bowers continued. "We are obligated to do this."

Contributions to the group's Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, help the 555 Able Soldier and Family Fund continue to help soldiers. Its CFC donation code is 84293.

Every dollar donated supports soldiers and their families.

"These soldiers and their families serve honorably," concluded Bowers. "The donations we receive go a long way, and for that we are grateful."

For more information, visit www.555soldierfund.com.

October 23, 2015 at 10:07am

Freedom Awards await nominations

National Guard and Reserve members serve in the military during their drill weekends, but for the rest of the year, they typically work full-time in careers with civilian employers.

This is unlike active-duty servicemembers, who serve in their military capacity full time.

"The National Guard and Reserve ‘Citizen-Warriors' accomplish a unique mission, serving both their civilian employer and their military missions," said John Patterson, Washington Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee state chair.

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component servicemembers and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. Employers are legally obligated to support and allocate time off for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers to attend their military drills.

It doesn't stop there, either.

During emergency state activations, like the Oso landslide or recent wildfires, servicemembers may be called away from their full-time careers to serve Washington state communities and/or the Nation.

Like with any emergency, when the call comes, servicemembers need to be ready to answer at a moment's notice, and that applies to their employers as well.

"While employing and supporting our men and women of the Guard and Reserve, these employers throughout America also serve and play a huge role in the success of our Guard and Reserve," added Patterson.

Finding temporary staff members to fill the void while servicemembers are away, while ensuring that the servicemember has a position when he or she returns from duty, can be extremely difficult.

That's what makes the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award so important.

ESGR is accepting nominations for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award through Dec. 31.

"Those serving are our neighbors, friends, first responders and many of our college students throughout the state," said Patterson. "The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the pinnacle of ESGR's awards."

Freedom Awards recognize the extraordinary and noteworthy support provided by so many of Washington state's and the Nation's employers.

"The Secretary of Defense expresses appreciation on behalf of our Nation by presenting the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award," Patterson said.

This award is the highest award given by the U.S. Government to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

Every year, there are 15 awards presented to recipients at the Pentagon during a ceremony, which is streamed live to an audience of millions.

All National Guard and Reserve servicemembers are encouraged to nominate their employers for this prestigious award by visiting www.FreedomAward.mil or the Washington ESGR office located in Bldg. 3 on Camp Murray. For more information, call 877.306.1971.

October 30, 2015 at 9:54am

Turkey, golf and charity at Eagle's Pride

America's Credit Union will be putting on their 15th annual turkey shoot November 6th. Once again, Eagle's Pride Golf Course will host the tournament. Over the past 15 years, ACU and Eagle's Pride have been able to raise over $500,000 for multiple charities that support military families. This year, it is expected that the turkey shoot will be an even larger success than previous years.

The tournament is a two-person scramble that will have a shotgun start with a scheduled tee time of 10 a.m. Participants will need to pre-register for the event; golfers will be asked to pay a $90 registration fee per golfer. For those who wish to donate, but do not choose to play in the tournament, America's Credit Union does have a couple options. ACU has made it possible to "sponsor" a golfer by paying their registration fee; in addition, donations are still being accepted for prizes that will be raffled off in conjunction with the tournament. Following the completion of play, all golfers will have access to a buffet dinner, which is covered in the registration fee.

To help support the event, ACU has several sponsor packages available for every size company that wishes to show their support of our military. As in prior years, the collected funds will be distributed to three major charities that support active-duty military and their families. Each of these charities goes a long way to provide a better standard of living for those that serve.

Portions of the proceeds will go to the Armed Forces Community Services food basket program. This program ensures that those families that are undergoing difficulties will have full holiday meals provided for them. Santa's Castle, a program that began in 1995, works to help bring Christmas to the children of all branches of the military, including reservists. Just last year, Santa's Castle helped 800 families with a total of 2,000 children who were financially struggling. The Turkey Shoot will also support families and retirees year round as funds will also be given to the Madigan Foundation; this foundation works to give greater care and comfort to patients of Madigan Army Hospital on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

America's Credit Union and Eagle's Pride Golf Course look to bring joy and warmth to thousands of servicemembers' families. With every paid entry, and donated item to be raffled, another military family in need is given not only better holidays, but also greater medical care. Though the goal in every golf tournament is to come out the winner, this turkey shoot provides pride to the competitors and sponsors while warming the homes of those that need it the most.

ACU Turkey Shoot Golf Tournament, 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 6, Eagle's Pride Golf Course, $90 per golfer, 253.912.3214

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