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555 soldiers volunteer in Roy

Unit gives back to supporters

555th Engineer Brigade Volunteers with 555th Engineer Brigade tackled more than six service projects around Roy during Hometown Heroes May 6.

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Sergeant Thomas Tran is quickly making volunteering in Roy something of a tradition for him and his young family. Tran was one of more than 63 volunteers from 555th Engineer Brigade who flooded the rustic city’s downtown May 6 for Hometown Heroes, Roy’s annual day of service.

“It’s always nice to be able to give back to the community that supports the military, and I’m all about that,” Tran said.

On the early morning of May 6, Tran and his wife Margaret, with 14-month-old Mia snugly strapped to her back, pulled weeds in front of the Roy Library and Community Center. Like several volunteers, it was Tran’s second year participating in the service day that honors Roy heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“A lot of people don’t understand that there was a gentleman from the Triple Nickel engineer brigade who was killed in action,” said Roy Mayor Anthony McDaniel, referring to the side wall of the Roy City Hall where two pictures are prominently displayed. “He is honored right here on our city hall. We have a plaque with his name and picture.”

One picture is of combat engineer Staff Sgt. Alexander Povilaitis. The 47-year-old husband and father was killed by an improvised explosive device while deployed to Zharay, Afghanistan, in May 2012. Also honored on the Roy City Hall Hometown Heroes wall is fallen Pierce County Sheriff Deputy Kent Mundell, killed in the line of duty in December 2009.

Volunteers broke down into working groups that heartily tackled more than six service projects around the city to include painting, tree pruning, gardening, park cleanup, cemetery beautification and even shed construction.

“We have a lot of Soldiers who are just genuinely, good Soldiers,” said Capt. Mark Garrison, 557th Engineer Construction Company commander, who led an industrious crew of Triple Nickel Soldiers to construct a wooden equipment shed for the city. “They got to do their job, in the sun, in civilian clothes and help out the city of Roy. It’s all good.”

More than 50 Soldiers from Garrison’s company volunteered to participate in the Hometown Heroes event.

To thank volunteers for coming out, the city’s Lions Club treated participants to a spread of hotdogs, hamburgers, potato salad and cookies.

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