In February, City of Athens Building Inspector Erik Waddell was deployed with the 663rd Engineer Company to Afghanistan. Waddell has the rank of captain and is commander of the company. Waddell has served 15 years with the U.S. Army Reserve and has two prior combat deployments in Iraq.
The company is training the Afghan National Army how to operate and maintain heavy engineer equipment. Employees with the City of Athens started immediately donating items for care packages for Waddell and the members of his company. Some of the city's vendors also donated items. Employees have covered the cost of shipping through donations. So far the city has sent six care packages and has boxed up five more that should go out this week. Items donated include Girl Scout cookies, coffee and creamer, shaving cream, body wash, baby wipes, drink mix, hand sanitizer, lip balm, cooling wraps, lotion and Q-Tips.
Here is the email with photos I received from Waddell this morning:
“I cannot express enough how appreciative we are for the care packages sent from all our friends and colleagues from the City of Athens.
It is amazing how simple packages from home change the morale of the troops and bring a smile to the faces of everyone involved.
We really appreciate the support and offer our solemn thanks for your kindness. I have attached some photos of 663rd Soldiers taking items that you have provided.
Photo 1. Is of SSG Blumer of Arkansas along with 1SG Palmer from Rockford, IL and SFC Harper from Bear Creek, AL receiving items. Harper is our Operations NCOIC and is originally from Tennessee. He is a Huge Tennessee fan so I am sure he would like Holly's flag.
Photo 2. is of SSG Blumer and Myself getting some Shaving Cream which is hard to come by here sometimes. Blummer is our Communications NCOIC and is a Beast in the Gym. He also serves as our Master Fitness Trainer for the Unit.
Photo 3. is of SPC Waldecker who likes Girl Scout Cookies and body wash. Alyssa works in our personnel section and helps out with communications as well. She is working on her nursing degree from NWSCC and plans to complete on our return. She had to cut her degree program short for the deployment.
Photo 4. is of SPC Delong, our Company Operations Intelligence and Communications Specialist from Elkmont and SSG Norris our Medic from South Carolina. Both really enjoy the coffee. Mark Delong loves Motorcycles and is an integral part of my staff, he works well above his grade.
Photo 5. is of SFC Noble who lives in Florence but is from Louisiana. DeQuincy is one of my Platoon Sergeants who is a huge LSU fan.
Hope this helps personalize your gift to the unit. We all appreciate your efforts and look forward to completing our mission and returning home.”
By: Holly Hollman And “Jackal 5”