304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldiers learn the joy of helping others

by Soo Yeon Hwang and Sung Eun Kim, USAG Humphreys Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldiers brought some love, care and attention to the children at the House of Jacob Orphanage in Pyeongtaek on Oct. 26.

Led by Chaplain (Capt.) Jueun Kim, the eight Soldiers were part of the battalion's ongoing community outreach efforts at the orphanage.

The House of Jacob, in Dongbang welfare town, Pyeongtaek city, was founded in 1985 based on the Christian spirit. The orphanage cares for 32 abused and neglected boys and girls, their ages ranging from infant to four-years-old.

According to Eun Joo Ko, the principal of the House of Jacob, the 304th ESB Soldiers from Camp Humphreys have visited every month over the last three years.

"They always show their love and care for our children. Usually, they volunteer by playing with children and providing the human interaction they lack because they have no parents," Ko said. "To balance taking care of the children's needs and the up keep of the facility, we are in continual need of volunteers, that is also the reason why the 304th ESB came in."

Kim said the volunteer effort helps his Soldiers to learn the joy of helping others.

"I think Soldiers assigned to Camp Humphreys not only prepare for war but they also give helping hands to those in need," Kim said. "I would like to have a great relationship with communities. The young Soldiers can learn the joy of helping others and relieve the stress of being deployed to a foreign land. The event will inspire both the participating Soldiers and the community, especially giving love and hope to the unfortunate children in this country."

At first the children were shy with the Soldiers. Seeing this the Soldiers tried to break the ice with the children by playing with rag dolls. The children warmed to the Soldier volunteers little by little and soon were playing with and embracing them.

Boys were interested in energetic activities such as driving toy cars and riding slides, the girls enjoyed playing the piano, reading books and playing house. They all shared a desire for affection and sought the Soldiers' hugs.

While playing with each other, the Soldiers and children drew close and became friends.

After the Soldiers played with kids for about an hour, they cleaned the orphanage, an important task to ensure the children's health.

Pfc. Nikkie Quichocho said she participated in the outreach event because of the recommendation from her noncommissioned officer in charge.

"I was really looking forward to socializing with children because there's little opportunity to meet children in the Garrison. It was worthwhile for me. I would like to visit Jacob Orphanage every month," Quichocho said.

As part of the brigade's Good Neighbor Program, the unit reached out to their Korean neighbors to show that "Katchi Kapshida," Korean for "We go together," is not just a motto for the battalion Soldiers.

"Not only here, but also we are eagerly searching to support hospitals and nursing homes in the future. In December, before Christmas, we are planning to perform Christmas carols at several facilities." Kim said.

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