TBM volunteers

TBM volunteers avert disaster by feeding military

SEAGOVILLE—When a food-service provider cancelled a holiday party for about 200 military personnel and their families at the last minute, event organizers saw a disaster in the making. So, they contacted Texas Baptist Men disaster relief.

tbm battalion thanks400Lt. Col. Ann Hall with the 341st Multifunctional Medical Battalion from Seagoville thanks George Felkner with Texas Baptist Men for providing a meal at a holiday gathering for soldiers and their families.George Felkner, a member of Mimosa Lane Baptist Church in Mesquite who works with TBM disaster relief, received a call from a representative of the U.S. Army 341st Multifunctional Medical Battalion in Seagoville.

Felkner learned about the caterer’s last-minute cancellation for a family event honoring the 354th Medical Company from Seagoville, many of whom were set for deployment to Afghanistan.

So, he and seven other TBM volunteers—including four U.S. Navy veterans from the Vietnam conflict—loaded the disaster relief unit and headed to the “party ranch” in Mesquite where the event was scheduled.

“Being veterans and dealing with all the stuff we did when we returned from Vietnam, we didn’t want anybody else in the military to feel unappreciated,” Felkner said.

Nobody—volunteers, soldiers or family members—felt any lack of appreciation at the event.

“We walked in, and everybody started applauding,” Felkner recalled.

Even after some good-natured teasing about Navy’s 34-7 gridiron victory over Army, the Army personnel continued to show their gratitude to the TBM volunteers, and that opened the door to some meaningful conversations about spiritual matters, he noted.

At one point, the TBM crew circled a first sergeant who requested prayer prior to a final deployment before retirement after 25 years of military service.

“We enjoyed your gracious service to the U.S. military, great meal and your fellowship,” Capt. Michael Okikawa, commander of the 354th Medical Company, wrote to Felkner in a Christmas Eve email. “Please tell all that volunteered how much we appreciate their support and their time to make our holiday event extra special.” 

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