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R&R program benefits soldiers

R&R program benefits soldiers

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 9:13 pm

 While serving with the U.S. Army in Qatar, Maj. Karen (Hubbard) Hanson, a former resident of Union City, worked with the military’s R&R Pass Program. This initiative exists to help service men and women enjoy some “rest and relaxation” time during their service.

Soldiers taking respite in Qatar are provided movies, computers, games, books and a swimming pool. Service members stationed in Qatar volunteer to take the visiting warriors off post for dinner, movies and sight-sighting.

Uniforms cannot be worn off post so civilian clothes are required to take full advantage of the R&R program. Maj. Hanson says service members deploy with only their uniforms and gear, so the program keeps a “clothes closet” of civilian garments for use by service personnel who come there for a brief vacation. With new rotations of service members arriving every day, they are challenged to keep enough on hand.

The clothes may be either borrowed by the vacationing soldiers or kept. Clothes for men are in particularly short supply and will  be gratefully accepted, she added.

Shorts and shoes are welcome, but long pants and plain shirts are always in demand. Although the temperatures may be warm, soldiers are not permitted to wear shorts off post at any time and long sleeves are required during the Muslim celebration of Ramadan — even on the post.

Church and civic groups or individuals can also send candy, cookies, books and other recreational items or “treats” to chaplains in Qatar who work with the program and can dispense them.

Items may be sent to CPT Chris Spencer, ASG-QA-RRPP, Unit 514, APO AE 09898.

Another way to show you care is to send a Christmas card to a veteran who has been wounded in the service of their country. Why not add this extra card to your list, and pass on this idea to everyone on your e-mail list.

Simply send a card to: A Recovering American Service Member, in care of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20307-5001. 
Published in The Messenger 11.19.08

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