11 February 2011


Troops Donate School Supplies to Baraki Barak

Thursday, February 10, 2011

RCP 43 donates school supplies, toys in Baraki Barak

SFC Otto Valdez Baraki Barak School

CJTF-101: LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – To help prevent violent extremism and turn potential enemies into friends, 54th Engineer Battalion route-clearance soldiers donated supplies to Afghan school children in Baraki Barak, Logar province Jan. 30.

Task Force Dolch soldiers of 54th Engr. Bn.’s Route-Clearance Patrol 43 believe in practicing the “golden rule” of treating others the way they would like to be treated when attempting to win the hearts and minds of Afghans. Donating supplies to a school in the Baraki Barak valley of western Logar is a perfect example.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Otto Valdez, TF Dolch’s RCP 43 platoon sergeant from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, asked friends and family to donate school supplies for Afghan children. Valdez collected nearly $1,500 worth of school aid, saying his mother and brother sent about 80 percent of the supplies and the other 20 percent came from his friends.

RCP 43 soldiers distributed school supplies, toys, shoes and boxes of winter clothes in an effort to help the children enjoy a better quality of life.

This is not the first time Valdez conducted this type of mission.

“It was something I did before on other deployments - twice in Kosovo, twice in Iraq and now in Afghanistan,” said Valdez. “I am willing to do it again as long as God provides me with the strength.”

Valdez’s RCP 43 discovered the school while conducting route-clearance patrols in their area of operations. RCP 43 soldiers received help from local national interpreters to choose the most appropriate gifts for the children and establish rapport with the school officials.

One benefit for the soldiers conducting this mission was seeing the smiles and happiness in the children of the west Logar province school.

“I have two kids of my own, and I know the greatest thing to me is to see them happy,” said Valdez. “These Afghan children are not as lucky as Americans. If we can help them, that’s our biggest benefit from the missions.”...

(Read the rest here at WOTN)

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