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Minnesota National Guard
Aviation Brigade Soldiers give back

ST PAUL, Minn – Minnesota community members thank members of the Minnesota National Guard nearly every time Soldiers or Airmen travel to and from drill while in uniform Of course they appreciate the support of Minnesota communities, but how do they show their own appreciation for their communities’ support in return?

One Soldier, Spc Jason Lee, a local of St Paul, Minn, and a property-book assistant with 34th Combat Aviation Brigade headquarters, found a way to thank his community for the support he’s felt

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“It all started when someone offered to pay for my carwash,” Lee said “They wanted to pay me back for my service and I didn’t really know how to say ‘thank you’ back”

A simple “thanks” didn’t seem fitting for Lee He later came up with a tangible way to say thank-you to the people and businesses of his community He brought over a dozen comrades from his unit, HHC, 34th CAB based in St Paul, and got to work bagging groceries at a local Cub Foods in West St Paul

“I think it’s wonderful!” said John Schaeffer, the assistant manager for the West St Paul Cub Foods grocery store “Yesterday, an older lady came by and had to shake hands with the Soldiers She was just amazed they were here to help!”

Not only did community members appreciate the kind gesture, but the Soldiers really felt happy to help out in the community as well

“I love doing things like this,” said Pfc Meghan O’Keefe, an aviation operations specialist from Woodbury, Minn, who explained how she often volunteers for different community outreach programs in the Guard

“It’s good to give back and see people’s appreciation for what we do,” said Pfc Angela Seurer, also an aviation support specialist

All Soldiers who volunteered their afternoon were happy to help bag groceries even though it seemed like such a small gesture for all of the support Minnesota communities have provided to the Guard

“To the Soldiers: There are a lot of supporters in our communities,” said Lee “Find a way to say thanks for all their support!”

Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Ashlee Lolkus
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Sep 16, 2012

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