BAD WINDSHEIM, Germany — 1st Air Cavalry Troopers worked with dog house volunteers to move and spread 25 cubic yards of mulch on April 9.
“This was the first time in the 30 years of the shelter’s existence that we had volunteers from Storck Kaserne,” said Patrick Hanlon, volunteer coordinator for the day. “This was so great and we hope to do this more often in the future.”
“We all do this work for the shelter to make it special for the dogs,” Hanlon said. “It’s our passion. “Here at the shelter, we depend on donations and volunteers.”
A huge container full of wood shavings awaited the crew as they pulled up in front of the shelter, happily greeted by other shelter workers and, of course, excited dogs.
The German and American volunteers spent around three hours shoveling, carting and distributing over 20,000 pounds. of wood chips to improve the dogs temporary home.
“The dogs get very muddy,” said Dianne Kölbl, one of the German volunteers at the shelter. “Spreading it around the wood chips keeps the mud down, which helps keep the dogs cleaner.”
Building positive community relationships increases trust between the army and the public at home and abroad. Volunteer opportunities are excellent opportunities for Soldiers to engage with communities and organizations to build meaningful partnerships and friendships.
The soldiers who volunteered are teammates from a local rugby team called Black N’ Blue; a club that has existed for more than 40 years, operates in and around Storck Kaserne and is made up of players from Germany, France and the United States.
“The team is a group of super motivated people who have found the sport they really love,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Snowden, platoon commander with Bravo Company’s 615th Aviation Support Battalion. “Everyone on the team wants to learn.”
Rugby is a social sport. It’s common for opposing teams to play a game and hang out afterwards. This is an aspect the team hopes to encourage as the weather becomes more favorable for games.
Sergeant Arturo Garza, branch chief of Bravo Company, 615th ASB, explained that playing rugby together with players from other countries creates a common understanding and bond.
“It’s an example of how the army is preparing us,” Garza said. “We are a melting pot. We mix cultures and move towards a common goal.”