CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
As summer begins to heat up, the barbeques start to come out. Soldiers stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, got to enjoy some of the first steaks of the summer thanks to an organization called "Feed Our Troops."
Nearly 3,700 steaks were flown in and prepared by volunteers for the Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion of the Minnesota National Guard and U.S. Army Central Servicemembers on May 15.
The project started 12 years ago as a concept of serving a meal from home to the Servicemembers deployed and their families at the same time said, Pat Harris, one of the project founders and organizers for the event.
"I think it’s awesome they came all the way from the U.S. to be here," said Lt. Col. Scott Heil, a civil affairs officer with 3rd Medical Command. "Obviously, it shows a great amount of patriotism and care for the Soldiers. This was the best meal that I have had in a long time, so it couldn’t be better."
Around 350 family members assembled together at a sponsoring restaurant back in Minnesota to join a video-chat and taking part in the meal, Harris added.
Months of planning and coordination between leadership of the 682nd Eng. Bn. and the organizers went into this event, said Harris. The event was sponsored by businesses and restaurants from Minnesota. Over 40 volunteers made this event possible.
"It’s a great meal and message from the businesses, citizens and families of those deployed," said Harris. "It’s a message of support for our Servicemembers that are serving each and every day. We do that with a meal from home."
Spc. Tenzin Kunsang, a combat engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 682nd Eng. Bn., and native of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, was one of the Soldiers helping to coordinate the volunteers.
"I feel it’s great on their part to come out here and help out Soldiers," said Kunsang. "We have been away from home for some months now, so this is a little taste of home that we were missing."
Giving back was the common theme among the volunteers at the event. For Ted Johnson, the senior vice president of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, this trip to Kuwait was his second in support of this cause.
"Being a part of this mission, Serving Our Troops, is incredibly rewarding," said Johnson. "Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx appreciate what our Servicemembers are doing. It’s important to remind people back home that our friends and neighbors are still deployed. It’s important that we make sure that everybody in our community knows that they are over here protecting us and doing a great service to our entire community."