Second Lt. Tara Drumm, 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), socialized with the dogs, cats, kittens, geese, goats and yes even pigs! Photo by Capt. Cheryl Abbate, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), UPAR
FORT KNOX, Ky. — We’ve all heard heartwarming stories about Soldiers in the United States Armed Forces who befriended animals while deployed overseas, forming deep and enduring bonds. In addition, Soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning to the states from their deployments continue to find emotional support and strength by befriending animals.
The fact is, being around animals is incredibly therapeutic, especially in times of discomfort, pain or distress. This being the case, it goes without saying that the companionship of animals has played an integral part of maintaining the emotional welfare of many Soldiers within the Armed Forces.
In recognizing the impact that animals have had on their fellow service members, 11 Soldiers from the 104th Training Division (LT), 108th Training Command (IET), United States Army Reserve assigned to support the Reserve Officer Training Corps 2015 Cadet Summer Training (CST) event in Fort Knox, Kentucky, gathered together on Aug. 6, 2015 to help out the homeless cats, dogs, pigs, goats and geese just 10 miles down the road at the Animal Refuge Center in Vine Grove, Kentucky.
The event was organized by Capt. Cheryl Abbate, the Unit Public Affairs Representative, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT). Abbate remarked that “one of our responsibilities, as Soldiers in the Army Reserve, is to ensure that we support our local communities. As we continually see on the news, animals do wonders to enhance the well-being of our service members. For that, they certainly deserve our attention and time.”
Specialist Corey Mills and Capt. Linda Rivera, 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), helped break down old cabinets, build new shelves and cabinets, carried in hefty bags of cat litter and walked the dogs. Photo by Capt. Cheryl Abbate, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT), UPAR
Another volunteer, 2nd Lt. Tara Drumm of 3rd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT) explained that she jumped at the chance to volunteer at the Animal Refuge Center because “every little bit of support helps and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t smile from hanging out with a bunch of cute animals?”
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith from HHC, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT) said that he wanted to volunteer because his own dog was severely abused before he adopted her and “this was my opportunity to give back and help animals.”
While at the shelter, volunteers from the 104th helped break down old cabinets, build new shelves and cabinets, helped carry in hefty bags of cat litter, walked the dogs and socialized with the dogs, cats, kittens, pigs, geese and goats.
At the end of the day, Smith commented that it was “rewarding to help the volunteers at the Animal Refuge Center get on their feet so they can better help animals.”
Spc. Joshua Salinas agrees. As he puts it, “it’s nice to see people work hard to selflessly benefit creatures other than themselves. I always want to be a part of that when I see it.”