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South Jersey Community:
For Operation Iraqi Freedom's Kids
The Soldiers Are Teaching The Kids About Our Sports, But They Need Equipment!

Monday, December 29, 2003

By Boog Williams
SJSports Staff Writer

The 404th Civil Affairs Battalion is an Army Reserve unit based at Fort Dix and currently participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a Civil Affairs unit our soldiers work directly with the civilian population of Iraq, assisting in the rebuilding of the physical and governmental infrastructures of the “new” country.

Wherever they deploy, the soldiers - most of whom are not far from their own childhood - gravitate toward the children “in-country”…because children are innocent, or are open to new ideas, or just because kids are kids all over the world!

The soldiers have requested our help in solidifying their relationships with Iraqi children. They have asked us to find a way to outfit the children with sports equipment, i.e. sports jerseys, balls/bats and related gear. Through sports, and the inherent fun of sports, they are teaching the children an appreciation of the games of our country and, more importantly, the lessons of sports: teamwork, cooperation, competition, sportsmanship – valuable lessons that carry throughout all aspects of life and will be especially important to them as they grow into leadership roles and citizenship in a participatory government.

And so we are asking for help on behalf of our soldiers. We are collecting sports apparel, sporting gear (balls *NO YELLOW ONES. CLUSTER BOMBS ARE YELLOW AND WE WOULDN’T WANT THE KIDS TO GET CONFUSED*, bats, gloves, etc.) to ship to the unit. These items will then be taken to the schools to be distributed to the children to help put some fun – and develop the values we take for granted - into their lives.

“This program is just starting to attract attention. To date we've gotten responses from the Princeton Soccer Club, Corpus Christi (Willingboro) CYO, St. Jude's School (Williamstown), Evesham/Marlton Rec Department, Burlington Twp Soccer and we hope that the article in South Jersey Sports Online will bring in more help. It is so impressive to see the positive reaction to this program. There is no doubt in my mind that we live among the most generous people in the world, and their patriotism and commitment to kids anywhere, is second to none!” said Mary Gordon Kirsch (404th CA Bn (SO) FRG)

If you find that you can assist us, we thank you. Please contact Mary Gordon Kirsch at 609-386-6448 x 222 or and we will make arrangements to collect what you generously provide.

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.