Spirit of giving finds its way to AT

by Spc. Greg Fuhs
29th Infantry Division (Light) Public Affairs

FORT DIX, NJ, June 15, 1999 -- Even during annual training, the 29th "Light Fighters" found time to give to those less fortunate than themselves.

Above: Lt. Col. Wendy Leland inspects some of the toys collected by 29th Division soldiers during Annual Training. (Photo by Master Sgt. Dale F. Harter)
Thanks to the efforts of Lt. Col. Wendy Leland, signal officer for the 29th Joint Task Force Augmentation Team, Gunpowder, Md., soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division (Light) packed more than just field gear in their ruck sacks for AT this year. Extra clothing, teddy bears, toys, and games were brought along to be donated to the Kosovar refugees staying at Fort Dix.

"It's not every day that we get this kind of opportunity to share our blessings," said Leland. To her, the 29th coming to Fort Dix for AT while the refugees were staying there seemed to call for an act of generosity.

So she obtained authorization from the division command to set up a donation point and got the word out for units to bring what they could for the refugees.

"The people in this division recognize the fact that we weren't just coming up here in a vacuum," Leland said. "Looking at the broad generosity, it makes me feel very good to be an American."

During the week, more than 60 large bags and boxes of toys and clothing were collected at the division drop-off point in "Tent City." The goods were taken to the New Jersey National Guard, which is heading up a larger donation effort already in place. From there, the items either will be distributed to the refugees at Fort Dix, placed on pallets for shipment to the Balkans or sent to relief organizations working on the refugee crisis.

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This page was last updated June 19, 1999.