58th MP’s brings smiles, warmth to Afghan children

| December 9, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Jamie Sleik (right), FET, 58th MP Co., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, gives an Afghan family a homemade blanket in Kandahar City’s Shah Bazaar village, Afghanistan, Nov. 22. The blankets were donated by the Dickinson County Juvenile Probation Unit in Iron Mountain, Mich.

Sgt. Jamie Sleik (right), FET, 58th MP Co., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, gives an Afghan family a homemade blanket in Kandahar City’s Shah Bazaar village, Afghanistan, Nov. 22. The blankets were donated by the Dickinson County Juvenile Probation Unit in Iron Mountain, Mich.

Story and Photo by
Capt. Megan R. Spangle
58th Military Police Company, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Hesitant and shy at first, Afghan children swarmed Soldiers excitedly, anxiously and eagerly to receive their new gifts.

Mothers and grandmothers holding babies lingered in the background, but their burquas could not disguise their appreciation as female Soldiers from the 58th Military Police Company, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, donated homemade blankets and pillows to 80 women and children in Kandahar City’s Shah Bazaar village, here, Nov. 22.

The Afghan families received blankets and pillows, as well as shoes, notebooks and radios donated to the unit by the Dickinson County Juvenile Probation Unit from Iron Mountain, Mich. The donation was made possible with help from Sgt. Jamie Sleik, an Iron Mountain native and member of the 58th MP Co.’s Female Engagement Team, or FET.

Sleik and three female Soldiers distributed the blankets, while three others interacted with the group and passed out small bracelets imprinted with positive Afghan slogans. Enthusiasm and entertainment transcended the language barrier as many children communicated more with smiles than their words ever could.

“I like being able to show the community that we’re here to help them,” said Sgt. Brittany Deters, FET, 58th MP Co. “This is a positive side to the after effects of war.”

The unit used its female Soldiers and a female linguist to find a way to interact with local women, which allowed the unit to address domestic issues that would have otherwise been unknown.

“The purpose of the (FET) is to talk to a segment of the population that has previously been disregarded or ignored,” said 1st Lt. Danelle Gamble, 58th MP Co. “Female Soldiers are able to gain access into the private homes in a way that male Soldiers cannot to discuss domestic and family issues.”

The 58th MP Co.’s police partner, the Afghan Uniformed Police, led and coordinated the meeting after they identified groups of families in need. During the meeting, the AUP commander directed his police to provide additional security outside the residence where the goods were distributed. Police displayed the cooperation and professionalism built between the 58th MP Co. and local Afghan police.

At the conclusion of the donation, Afghan men and women who hosted the event invited the Soldiers to share coffee and chai, a local tea. They discussed the success of the mission and the difference that the warm blankets and clothes will make when temperatures begin to drop.

The police commander expressed his gratitude and emphasized the importance of sharing their thanks with American youth who sent the packages.

“It’s really important to me that the kids who put this together know what a difference they’re making,” Sleik said.

This humanitarian assistance is the fourth mission the 58th MP Co. has participated in since its deployment to Afghanistan this summer.

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Category: Community Relations, Deployed Forces, News

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