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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Army officials in Daegu say a volunteer program started last year has been so successful they plan to continue it.

A group from the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Camp Walker went on a Friday night earlier this month to the Daesong Buddhist temple in Daegu. It was the unit’s 13th monthly visit.

The temple puts on a meal for up to about 800 elderly disadvantaged local residents every Friday night.

“They’re old, some people are abandoned by their family, some people are old without any guardians trying to make their own living at the age of over 80 or 90,” said Capt. Seuk-hwan Son, 19th ESC spokesman.

The 19th ESC sends 15 to 20 soldiers the second Friday of each month to help out.

They set up the chairs, lay the tables, bring food to the tables, and clean up in the dining area and kitchen, Son said.

“So it’s the manpower that we provide that they’re short of,” he said of the temple.

For the unit, it’s another way to take part in the U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program, said Son. The program mandates that U.S. military units on the peninsula find ways to forge good relations with the South Korean public, said Son.

“They would smile, grab your hand and… say ‘U.S. Army’ and you’d say ‘Yes, U.S. Army’ and they nod with approval and smile,” said Warrant Officer Susan Prim.


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