Golden Dragons adopt Gold Star families

| April 11, 2014 | 0 Comments
Golden Dragons assist Kailer Suerth, a Gold Star family member with Survivor Outreach Services, to remove his protective mask and armor during the SOS Organizational Day, hosted by the 1-14th Inf. Regt., April 1. The event was part of ongoing efforts to ensure family members of fallen Soldiers are kept in the Army family.

Golden Dragons assist Kailer Suerth, a Gold Star family member with Survivor Outreach Services, to remove his protective mask and armor during the SOS Organizational Day, hosted by the 1-14th Inf. Regt., April 1. The event was part of ongoing efforts to ensure family members of fallen Soldiers are kept in the Army family.

Story and photo by Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Sons, daughters, parents and spouses of fallen Soldiers gathered, here, April 4, for an organizational day with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, as part of Survivor Outreach Services.

The daylong event was held to ensure the families of fallen Soldiers are kept in the Army family.

Being able to interact with Soldiers and experience the Army life again can be beneficial to survivors.

“I didn’t expect that they would have all of this,” said Fe Suait, mother of Staff Sgt. Randy Agno, who died while serving his third tour in Iraq in 2009. “This helped me to remember things about my son. He used to be here.”

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“Things can get difficult,” said Rachel Suerth, wife of Sgt. Keoki Suerth, who died in 2007. “It is good to have other people to talk to.”

The day started early with physical training and breakfast in the dining facility, and then finished off with various military tasks and obstacles.

“It is great for the kids. This is what their parents did,” said Suerth. “The military is still a part of us, and this group is great because they still involve us.”

“This is my son’s home to me,” said Suait. “If I have a chance to come over here, even just for sightseeing, it helps. I feel like a Golden Dragon and part of the military family.”

This event provided a chance for the survivors to step into the boots of their loved ones for a day.

“I really enjoyed wearing the armor. It is very heavy,” said Suait. “Participating in the events was very interesting.”

“I want to join the Army when I grow up,” said Kailer Suerth, Rachel’s son. “I want to work with computers like my dad did. I want to serve my country.”

“What we’re doing for these kids is amazing. It is important for them to see the side of the Army that is all about the family,” said Pvt. 1st Class Jesse Garza, infantryman. “I can understand what it feels like to lose someone dear to you; that’s why I volunteered.”

Ensuring that survivors still feel as though they are part of the Army family is a task the Golden Dragons are happy to help with.

“I love this,” said Garza. “Hanging out with the kids and seeing them have a good time with Soldiers is amazing.”

“It is really nice that I have a chance to come here again,” said Suait. “I used to drop him off for work. I thought I would never come again.”

“The units that agree to adopt us for special events like this means a lot to us. It shows our kids a part of their parents’ life and what the Army is really like,” said Suerth.

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