82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers kicked off the season of giving, Nov. 21, with community service honoring their fallen comrades.
Wolfpack Soldiers with the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd CAB, gathered to clean up three locations in and around the greater Fort Bragg area.
“We are cleaning all three sites in honor of Soldiers who have passed on while serving with the Wolfpack, and we want to maintain them as a way to keep the memory alive for the Families and Soldiers,” said Maj. Ryan Eisenhauer, the 1st ARB executive officer.
Some of the Wolfpack Soldiers spent the morning cleaning up Andrews Road, which was renamed the Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brent S. Cole Memorial Highway last year in honor of the Wolfpack pilot who was killed in southern Afghanistan, May 22, 2009.
Among the group who showed up to help clean was Chief Warrant Officer 2 D. J. Rhodes, a Youngstown, Ohio, native who serves as an AH-64 Apache pilot. Rhodes saw the cleanup as an opportunity help better the area for his Family and the community.
“I am really excited that we are doing this because my kids go to school out here and I want to have a clean area for them and the rest of the community,” Rhodes said.
Another group of Wolfpack troops gathered along Buffalo Lake Road north of Spring Lake N.C. The road was renamed the Chief Warrant Officer 4 John R. Priestner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Miles P. Henderson Memorial Highway. Priestner and Henderson were killed while serving with Task Force Wolfpack in Iraq, Nov. 6, 2006.
“Our units need to be involved in the community the best we can. Memorials like this not only honor Soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country, but gives something back to the local community as well,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Riedel, of Pottsville, Penn.
Meanwhile, on Fort Bragg, Capt. Kirk Shands spent the morning with fellow 1st ARB troops cleaning up Wilson Park to honor Spc. Timothy A. Fulkerson, who was killed in Iraq, Oct. 8, 2006.
“All of these Soldiers volunteered to be here. Remembering the fallen is very important to them,” said Shands of Alexandria, Va.
For these Wolfpack Soldiers, there is no better way to honor the sacrifices and contributions made by their fellow servicemembers than by making a contribution of their own.
“We need to show the American people we’re more than just guns on TV… that we’re members of the local community and we want to help make it a better place.” Riedel said.