Sending care to soldiers
At the beginning of March, Unit 171 of the Iowa Army National Guard out of Mount Joy, Iowa were deployed to Fort Hood, Texas for six weeks in preparation for their eventual deployment overseas. Vietnam veteran Lyle Peterson and the St. Paul Veteran’s Group jumped into action to send the soldiers a special surprise when they reached Fort Hood.
“I have a connection to the Mount Joy reserve unit and I heard they were going to be deployed,” Lyle said. “I thought it would be something that our veteran’s group here at St. Paul could do for them since that’s our mission, supporting veterans and those serving now.”
Lyle teamed up with St. Paul youth group members to make thank you cards for the 73 soldiers. The 14 members of the Veteran’s group raised money to purchase popcorn balls from Popcorn Charlie’s to accompany those cards, many of them contributing their own money.
Currently, the soldiers are deployed in Operation Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve in U.S. Central Command. Central Command encompasses 27 countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Half this unit was deployed to Kuwait, while the other half are stationed in Iraq. The soldiers will remain overseas for more than a year before returning home.
These are just the kinds of special projects Lyle said the St. Paul Veteran’s Group looks for. Last Christmas, they sent Christmas cards to St. Paul family members that were currently deployed and Lyle also volunteers with the Family Support Group to provide support for the families of those deployed. Lyle said they’re always looking for new projects to support especially those with a military focus.
“It’s important for people to know that we support any veteran – serving in recent times or any other time,” Lyle said. “
The group meets once a month on Wednesday mornings at St. Paul. If you are a veteran and are interested in participating, contact Lyle Peterson at 563-343-1817.