Morale remains high during National Guard flood activation

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Christopher Stewart
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Kids from the Children's Castle and East Side Day Care in Pierre took a field trip Friday, June 3, 2011, to deliver treat bags to the Soldiers of the South Dakota National Guard assigned to filling sandbags at the Georgia Morse Middle School.

"I think it is really important, especially for younger children, to learn to help others and we talked about what everybody is doing and how Soldiers are coming from all over to help," said Lisa Blake, director of Children's Castle and East Side Day Care.

"We need to do that random act of kindness to help others," said Blake. By providing the treat bags to the Soldiers, Blake said it made the children very excited.

"The community has played a large part in maintaining high morale among South Dakota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during a state activation to assist with flood relief," said Master Sgt. Jason Stevens from the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls.

"The community is really doing a great job supporting us," said Stevens. "There is a never-ending supply of food, and having an opportunity to work beside the residents really has a positive impact in the lives of our Guardsmen."

"One thing that helps with morale is the camaraderie of the units," said Command Sgt. Maj. George Arends with Task Force 147, located in Pierre. "Being in the service, you get this bond, and we become like family, joking and laughing once in a while."

Airmen are happy to see and hear about the end results of their work in the community. The fact that community members take the extra time to bring homemade baked goods to show their appreciation for the work of the National Guard and volunteers has been greatly appreciated.

"I think that one thing that the Airmen have learned is that the resiliency and the pouring out of support with the hugs, food and the thanks has been just overwhelming," said Capt. Joe Hardin, Officer in Charge of the security and sandbagging efforts of the 114th Fighter Wing detached to Pierre. "The work is hard and long, but the appreciation from the citizens has been great. The people who are truly in need have thanked us tenfold and we are thrilled to be here to help the people of South Dakota."