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Camp Ripley: Soldier values show through in community sharing

Camp Ripley soldiers deliver toys, clothes and other gifts to the Morrison County Gift Tag program in Little Falls. Photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey1 / 2
Camp Ripley soldiers deliver toys, clothes and other gifts to the Morrison County Gift Tag program in Little Falls. Photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey2 / 2

CAMP RIPLEY—Every year, soldiers, airmen and employees of the Minnesota National Guard dedicate time, personal resources and some holiday spirit to help those in need throughout their communities.

"It's doesn't have to be much, it doesn't even have to cost anything, it can be as simple as a kind word," expressed Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley garrison commander. "It's the right thing to do."

From the very beginning, before a recruit takes his or her first step off the bus at basic training, they are bombarded with the fundamental lesson: "Take care of your buddy." This simple phrase carries with it a not-so-simple responsibility to ensure that the people on your left and right are safe, secure and ready for service so everyone can get home.

The common bond among service members is formed and ingrained by the understanding that each other is all we have in battle. Across the services, the values of honor, respect, loyalty and selfless service solidify the strength to go a little further, endure a little longer and look a little closer to see how everyone can add to the effort.

"Any soldier can remember a moment when it was hard for them, when they had nothing, it makes it easier to recognize how to help someone else," said Tammy Klucas with the Camp Ripley Family Assistance Center.

These values to put the welfare of the nation, the Army and one's neighbors before one's self carries with it the same motivation today as it did on Christmas Day 1776, when Gen. George Washington led a ragged, undersupplied army across the Delaware River to strike a decisive victory for our struggling nation.

Throughout central Minnesota, staff and employees of Camp Ripley have joined other volunteers in the community who contributed to helping those in need, especially around the holidays. Toy giveaways, food shelf drives, splitting firewood and most recently, filling gift tags for hundreds of children before Christmas.

"It's fulfilling to help those in need and to give back to those that support us so much," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth of the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau. "Not everyone is fortunate enough to have good jobs and it's just a little something to show our support for our neighbors."

Camp Ripley contributions to the community this holiday season included delivering toys, clothes and other gifts to the Morrison County Gift Tag program in Little Falls Dec. 14, 2015. This year the soldiers and employees of Camp Ripley filled the request of over 100 gift tags and are continuing to gather items for local food shelf drives.

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