Soldiers take time to help community

By Sgt. Ashley M. Outler / 28th Public Affairs Detachment on October 28, 2011

GIG HARBOR - A man approached a boy who was throwing starfish into the ocean on a beach. He told the boy his efforts were useless because there were too many starfish to save, and that he couldn't make a significant difference.

The boy returned another starfish to its home and replied, "I made a difference to that one."

The tale, part of "The Star Thrower," an inspirational story written by poet Loren Eisley, was part of the motivation behind a recent 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade's food drive.

"That's why I feel like even the small donations, the small acts of kindness, the small differences that are made, build to something greater than ourselves," said Maj. Steven J. Kurczak, the brigade fire support officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 201st BfSB, after recalling the story of the starfish to the Soldiers at the start of the event.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord-based 201st BfSB delivered more than 850 items to people at the Fish Food Bank in Gig Harbor Oct. 22, after a weeklong food drive.

"It's wonderful to make a difference in people's lives. There are probably a lot of people out there who didn't expect to be in a predicament where they cannot feed their family, so a food drive is definitely going to help," said Capt. Jose J. Ramos, assistant brigade fire support officer for HHC, 201st BfSB. "I think what gives purpose to life are the contributions that we make to the community."

The event supported "Make a Difference Day," the national day of doing good, which encourages Americans to come together and inspire positive worldly change.

"The community does a lot for us, they support us at war and training with their time and care packages, they are our family when we aren't near our own," Kurcak said. "I think we are giving to the community everyday as Soldiers, but we should still do extra for the people that need it the most. In that way the cycle of kindness comes full-circle."

Soldiers of the 201st BfSB often volunteer in Gig Harbor, their community partner, and they've built a strong relationship of thoughtfulness and support, Kurcak said.

Donations were not limited to food; they also included hygiene products, movies, clothes and more. Bill P. Curnow, a volunteer at the Fish Food Bank in Gig Harbor, gratefully accepted the donations.

"I'm supporting the Army and to have them do something for us knowing that they have more important things to worry about is very nice," Cornow said. "We really appreciate it, every bit counts."

The food bank feeds 20 families a day on average, and they've been experiencing an increase with the difficult economy, he said.

"One person's donation can feed about one family, so I think we've fed a few families today, and it feels pretty good," Ramos said.