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CID unit pays it forward

VA clothing closet receives donation

CW3 Randall K. “Doc” Holladay, Special Agent/Operations Officer dropping off donations from his unit for the VA American Lake Campus, Dec. 2. Photo credit: Susan Melnyk

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After seeing an article in the newspaper about the American Lake VA Clothing Closet for homeless veterans, CW3 Randall Holladay, operations officer for the 315th Military Police Detachment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, wanted to get his soldiers involved.

"I saw the article in The Airlifter and I reached out to Rex (Rimando, Voluntary Services Specialist at the American Lake VA campus) and thought it would be a great community project for our unit," Holladay said.

"Our unit is the 315th Military Police Detachment, specifically CID, which is the Criminal Investigations Division.  We are a Reserve unit with thirty soldiers.  Our two main missions are protective service missions for assigned DoD officials and criminal investigators, as well as a drug suppression team, which is a task force of 31 Bravos, military police," explained Holladay.

As the weather cools and the rains persist, the Clothing Closet is in high demand by homeless veterans in the area and those seeking treatment from the VA.  Volunteers collect donations of gently used clothing and purchase new socks and other needed items throughout the year, but the winter months create an urgent need to keep our homeless veterans warm and dry.  Donations from active-duty and Reserve soldiers, as well as fellow veterans and military families, help to keep the shelves stocked as winter sets in and the need continues to grow.

Holladay's CID unit was able to donate $500 in socks and clothing from AAFES, as well as an assortment of gently used clothing.  Rex Rimando, Voluntary Services Specialist overseeing the Clothing Closet program, is visibly touched by the donation: "This allows our clothing room to continue to serve our homeless veterans."

The clothing room program has evolved over the years as the need has increased.  "The clothing room started off as an inpatient program years ago to serve those veterans that were admitted.  As funding changed over the years, we began morphing into an outpatient clothing room and it has changed to serve our homeless veterans.  About 99 percent of visitors to the clothing room are homeless veterans, which include patients that are admitted to the domiciliary and the homeless veterans living in our community," Rimando explained.

Rimando and his team are always on the lookout for new volunteers for the clothing room and other positions at the American Lake VA campus.  In addition to donations of gently used pants, shirts, jackets, sweaters, raincoats and shoes, the clothing closet accepts monetary donations so that they can purchase new socks, undergarments and clothing to stock the closet.

All donated clothing is accepted and processed through the Voluntary Services office in Bldg. 9 on the American Lake campus.  Though new clothing is greatly appreciated by the volunteers and veterans alike, gently used clothing is thoroughly washed before being placed on the shelves and racks that line the clothing room and are an important part of keeping the room stocked in all sizes so no veteran in need leaves empty-handed.

Holladay plans to make his unit's donation an annual event.  "This is our main project and it's very rewarding."

For further information about the VA Clothing Closet program, contact Rex Rimando at  For information about other volunteer and donation opportunities at the VA, visit the VA Puget Sound Health Care System website at

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