Belton Walmart Donates to Returning Soldiers
By: SPC Fabian Ortega
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) PAO
The Belton Chamber of Commerce Military Relations Committee and the Belton Walmart teamed up July 19 to donate more than 130 gift bags to single Soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
Gift bags filled with toiletries, towels and hand towels were donated from the Walmart Supercenter in Belton as part of the city’s partnership with the 13th SC (E) under III Corps’ Adopt a Unit program and will be donated to 13th SC (E) single Soldiers who are redeploying in August.
Partners with the 13 SC (E) for as many as six to eight years, Jay Taggart, Chairman of the Military Relations Committee for the Belton Chamber said the city of Belton’s main focus and community relations is with the 13th SC (E).
Taggart said he was contacted by the 13th SC (E) first lady, Cathy Terry, wife of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, 13th SC (E) commanding general, asking to help out Soldiers returning from deployment.
Mrs. Terry contacted me about single Soldiers coming in; I asked her, “What can we do to help with the troops coming back,” Taggart said.
Taggart learned of a Family Readiness Group initiative for single Soldiers that was to include bare essential toiletries and towels for barracks rooms.
As our community partners, together we wanted to be available to assist in this FRG initiative for single Soldiers, Taggart said.
With 25 to 30 members in his committee, Taggart needed only to mention the initiative to friend and fellow committee member, Lee Grabman, to receive all the help needed to supply enough gift bags for more than 130 single Soldiers.
“Lee Grabman and (the Walmart associates) took on this project themselves,” said Taggart.
Grabman, store manager for the Belton Walmart, said his response was simple, “Tell us what you need and we’ll be glad to help.”
Grabman and his associates completed the project in a matter of two weeks.
“We asked how many Soldiers there were, how many male and female, looked at what we were requested to do and handed it over to a couple of good associates and home run,” said Grabman.
One of those associates was Megan Thomas, associate and manager in the domestics department.
A couple weekends ago, Lee Grabman told associates what the single Soldiers were going to need, so the associates got everything together, said Thomas.
Thomas and nearly 150 fellow associates pitched in to help make the gift bags with personalized thank you cards in them.
According to Grabman, regular morning meetings became not so routine and were used to write the thank you cards.
Thomas said the associates at Walmart had only one goal in mind, “We wanted to make sure the Soldiers that came home felt welcomed.”
Grabman said the effort and time put into the initiative was indicative of the associates’ passion for their service members and neighbors.
“Anytime when we ask (the associates) to help, they just go for it all they way, they swing hard or they don’t swing at all,” Grabman said.
Taggart expressed his satisfaction with the community and Walmart.
“We’re always open to opportunities to help Soldiers and Families in any way, we were glad this came our way and that we were able to do it,” Taggart said. “I was real proud of Walmart and the associates, this was a big hit.”
Grabman ehoed Taggart’s sentiment and added, “We’re here for (the Soldier and their Families) and here for Fort Hood. We appreciate your business and your patronage, we do see the military uniforms in our store and we thank them for choosing the Belton Walmart.”