Service members from Third Army/ARCENT and 20th Fighter Wing, comprising Team Shaw, visited Palmetto Chapel at Shaw AFB, S.C., Dec. 7, to support volunteers at Palmetto Chapel as they joined in efforts to provide for families in need this holiday season.
Senior leaders, which included Brig. Gen. Rex A. Spitler, Third Army/ARCENT director of strategy and effects, along with Air Force Col. Lance A. Kildrand, 20th Fighter Wing, vice wing commander, gathered at the chapel to support Operation True Giving and to show the volunteers their appreciation. OTG supports service members, veterans and families at Shaw and the Sumter community. The program provides an opportunity for people to sponsor families in need around the holiday season and give them donations of food, clothing, or toys.
The soldiers of Third Army/ARCENT donated over 400 non-perishable food items, canned goods, and baking supplies to help sponsored families with their holiday dinner.
“As members of Team Shaw we take pride being given the opportunity to join in efforts to give back to the community, as the community has welcomed Third Army in so many ways since we’ve been here,” said Spitler. “This is a small token of our appreciation, to be able to give back to those in the community, whether they are military members or non-military.”
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The program based at Shaw has been in operation nearly three decades. Volunteers of the operation, including WWII veteran Charles J. Berard, started collecting donations during the fall months in order to give the donated items to families of Operation True Giving and residents of Sumter County by December, said Michelle L. Vance, an OTG volunteer and Sumter County resident.
“This time of year is more about giving than receiving, so we collect names of families in need from various organizations in the downtown Sumter community and from military service members here and match them with sponsors who donate so many wonderful items,” said Vance. “This holiday season we have 88 families, including people in nursing and veteran homes, as well as single parent families.”
The officers spoke to the volunteers as they expressed special thanks for their dedication and time to continue to help families each year.
“Our participation to donate to families and citizens in need provides us an opportunity to demonstrate our willingness to serve,” said Spitler.
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