Congregation Adopts Soldiers

By Roman Martyniuk, NJDMAVA/PA

Troops recieve gifts from congregationIn the aftermath of the commemorations and memorial services marking the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks against America, a number of stories of smaller heartwarming occurrences have begun to surface.

One such story involves a small community church in Salem County. The 175- member Richwood United Methodist Church adopted the troops from their local area who were called upon to provide enhanced security at the Salem-Hope Nuclear Generating Plant.

SSG Katkicks gives instruction to troops"The good people of Richwood United were well aware of the 'quality' the Guard added to our community," said Pastor Reverend Dr. Steven C. Herman, a 10-year veteran of the New Jersey Army National Guard and chaplain with the 5th Squadron, 117th Cavalry. "The dedication and willingness to serve in time of emergency demonstrated is very much appreciated."

The focus was to prepare “ holiday goodie packages” for each of the 62 troops assigned to the security detail. The church members took great pains to wrap each of the gift packages in a manner appropriate to the festive flavor of that particular holiday. The contents also reflected a variety of traditional holiday treats including cookies, homemade baked goods, candy, and other tasty surprises.

Mortar team deploys practices roundSgt. 1st Class Keith Johnson of C Troop, NCOIC of the yearlong mission assisted in the distribution of the packages. "It’s nice to be thought of. The holiday gift packages really lifted our spirits."