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City, AUSA Puyallup subchapter support JBLM unit

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Most Servicemembers are transient, but that doesn't mean they can't be active, productive members of their communities.

For the city of Puyallup, the relationship with Soldiers goes two ways.

The connection stems from JBLM's community connector program, which allows cities to "adopt" units from the base. Since about 2007, Puyallup has been connected with Stryker brigades from JBLM and is currently linked with 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (2/2, formerly known as 5th Brigade), said Glenda Carino, public affairs officer for the Office of the City Manager.

Last year, the Meriwether Lewis Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) formed a Puyallup subchapter to help assist the city with its efforts. Since it is a 501 (c) 3 organization, the subchapter can accept tax-deductable donations and offer a more structured environment, Carino said, noting that "all AUSA subchapter work goes to the community connector program."

The city has reached out to its Soldiers many times over the years, from coordinating care packages for deployed units to holding welcome home celebrations. It even erected a permanent memorial to its Stryker Soldiers last year in Pioneer Park.

In early October, 2/2's Maj. Joe Mason contacted the city to see if it needed any Soldiers to help with upcoming projects.  "We didn't want to ask troops to do any type of labor," said Carino. "They do enough of that. Our main goal is to support them."

But 2/2 wanted to give back.

So on Oct. 22, the National Day of Caring, a group of 2/2 Soldiers (including Commander Col. Barry Huggins) came out to volunteer at the Puyallup Food Bank.

It wasn't the first time Stryker Soldiers had come into the Puyallup community to help, and it won't be the last.  The city now provides 2/2 with a variety of volunteer opportunities in the Puyallup community and Soldiers choose what they'd like to do, if anything. "We want to make it a true volunteer opportunity," Carino said, noting that the relationship between the city and its Soldiers is solid. "Whatever they can do, they'll do."

Upcoming Soldier events in Puyallup include Military Appreciation Day on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Pioneer Park Pavilion, where military can skate for free.

AUSA is also donating Thanksgiving turkeys to 2/2 Soldiers in need and is looking for donations to fill Soldier care packages. Items should be dropped off at South Hill Harborstone Credit Union, 3921 S. Meridian by Nov. 12.

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