Family readiness groups aid returning Soldiers
After a long flight from the Middle East to Fort Gordon, Spc. Xayphone Rouppasong ,a Charlie Company, 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldier, did not know what to expect when he carried his bags from Gym 3 to his barracks room across the street after families and friends welcomed home 200 Soldiers of the battalion home Sept. 27.
When he opened the door, he saw a welcome home sign made from the children of the 67th ESB on his refrigerator, laundry on his desk and clean linen on his made bed. He pulled the refrigerator door handle, and saw two gift bags full of snacks.
The 67th ESB Family Readiness Group with the help of community organizations such as Operation Homefront and Quest Church volunteered many hours to ensure the single Soldiers of the 67th ESB maintain a good quality of life after a long deployment.
“ I really appreciate the time the FRG and the community organizations took to make me feel comfortable – it makes me feel warm inside,” said Rouppasong, who is from Myrtle Beach S.C., upon his return home after his first deployment. “It shows that we really are a family.”
Placed inside the goody bags for each Soldier was a gift certificate and welcome home letter.
“Upon returning from a deployment, it’s the single Soldier who often does not have anyone there for them,” said Wanda Frye of the 67th Family Readiness Group. “This is our way of saying thank you to them, and to let them know we appreciate their sacrifices as well.”
“We wanted the Soldiers to come home to a comfortable environment,” said Liz Fichtel, the Operation Homefront Georgia and Alabama region program manager.
Fitchel contacted several organizations in the Atlanta area, and they were willing to donate the bed sheets, snacks and gift bags to the single Soldiers. Children of the 67th also received writing tablets, puzzle games and pencil sharpeners. Through Operation Homefront, Fort Gordon volunteers received donated supplies from the Dollar Tree.
Col. Robert L. Edmons on II the brigade commander presented certificates to members of the 67th FRG, Operation Homefront, and Quest Church for their hard work and dedication to improve the quality of life for the single Soldiers of the 67th ESB.
“Community organizations like Quest Church and Operation Homefront serve as reminders that the responsibility of safeguarding our nation is a team event,” said Edmonson. “In our case, their level of volunteerism enhanced the effectiveness of the 67th ESB throughout the deployment by supporting our trooper’s family quality of life; while the Army recruits Soldiers, it retains families.”