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Story by Spc. Harrison Moore, photos
by Spc. Brett Hornback, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. -- Kentucky National Guardsmen continue to help local food banks package boxes of food to be sent to senior citizens in need.
From April 6
till the middle of June, Soldiers had been on orders tasked with helping box
food at a distribution facility in Elizabethtown. Now in July, another group of
six Soldiers continue that mission.
“8,600 boxes are
sent each month to senior citizens in 42 counties and we simply could not
continue this mission without the help of the Kentucky National Guard
Soldiers,” said Jamie Sizemore, Executive Director of Elizabethtown Operations.
The six Soldiers
helping at Feeding America through the end of July are from two different
units. Four of them, from 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and two from the
301st Chemical Company.
“There is no
way we could have battled the storm of COVID-19 without the help of the Guard,”
said Sizemore. “We usually have 12 full-time volunteers, so without them
stepping in we could not fulfill our mission.”
America has already asked the National Guard to come back after this group
leaves. Prior to the pandemic, volunteers mainly consisted of retirees and
school groups who have not been able to come.
pandemic has created hard times for everyone, so it feels good to be able to
give back and help at the package food knowing we are making a difference,”
said Sgt. Rafik Applewhaite, NCOIC from the 149th MEB.
is one of the four Soldiers who assisted at God’s Pantry, a Food Bank in
Lexington, Ky. for three months. He and his team package thousands of boxes of
food daily. Before joining the Kentucky National Guard, Applewhaite served for
five years in the Navy.
“One of the
many reasons I am proud to put on this uniform is because when disaster strikes
the Guard is always there to help any way we can,” he said.
is the senior ranking member of the group of who is accompanied by three
civilian employees. The group assembles food into boxes like a well-oiled
machine and their system revolves around everyone doing their job he said.
encourage any Soldier in the National Guard to step up and help in any way they
can,” said Spc. Zachary Curtsinger, with the 301st.
was also with a group that helped with set-up at the Alternate Care Facility in
Louisville and finds a similar camaraderie within the group at Feeding America.
hear about the reactions of those who receive food from here and how much it
touched them, but being the person assembling the care packages is just as
important,” said Curtsinger.
really came in and rescued us by allowing us to continue our mission and step
back and breathe,” said Sizemore. “Usually, during tough times like a natural
disaster one of our other 200 sister locations can step in and help us, but
because of the scale of this pandemic we truly relied on the Guard.”
the Kentucky National Guard everywhere like this team of six are helping places
like Feeding America. Whether it is wearing facemasks, staying properly
socially distanced, or packaging food for those in need, the Guard is taking
the right steps.
a unique enemy, but in the military, we are taught how to find out how to
defeat the enemy and then never stop until the job is done,” said Applewhaite.