IGR soldiers donate time to sort donations for Afghan evacuees
Dozens of members of the Indiana Guard Reserve, Indiana’s state defense force, converged on the Camp Atterbury railhead to do their part in Operation Allies Welcome.
Guard Reservists volunteered to help catalog and sort hundreds of boxes of clothes, personal hygiene items and other supplies that will help the thousands of Afghan evacuees staying on the post.
In just the first week, IGR soldiers spent hundreds of hours sifting through the donations, taking inventory and sending supplies back out the door.
Warrant Officer Tammara Brown, the IGR’s officer-in-charge, said she is impressed.
“The dedication is amazing,” Brown said. “We had a soldier this week who traveled 400 miles in one day to be part of this.”
Cpl. Thomas Brinker is one of those citizen-soldiers who drove a long distance to help. Brinker lives in Lanesville, 95 miles from Camp Atterbury. He has been in the IGR for less than two years, but in the first week of this mission, he volunteered five days. He said this is the least he can to do help the Afghan evacuees.
“They helped our soldiers so much, I think that we need to help them integrate into our society,” Brinker said.
Even though packing and unpacking supplies can be tedious, he said it is worth it.
“It’s so different and worthwhile, the time just flies by,” he said.
The IGR volunteers donate their time and sweat to serve Hoosiers when and where help is needed. The mission at Camp Atterbury is the perfect of example of “Hoosiers Serving Hoosiers,” the IGR motto.
Col. Andrew Fitzgerald, the IGR chief of staff, said this is the payoff after years of training.
“After observing the IGR in action, I’m extremely proud of the effort and hard work that has been performed to ensure that this mission a success and exceeds expectations,” Fitzgerald said. “It is clearly obvious that the IGR is a mission multiplier.”
The mission at Camp Atterbury is expected to continue through at least the end of 2021.
“The camaraderie and endurance of the IGR soldiers will make this mission a huge success, no matter how long it takes, whether it’s 90 days or six months,” Brown said. “This is what we’re built for.”
Guard Reservists look forward to helping see it through, helping America’s Afghan allies adjust to life in their new home.
The purpose of the IGR is to augment the National Guard during emergencies within the state, especially when some or all of the National Guard is deployed.
The IGR is an all-volunteer military force which reports directly to the State Adjutant General and is under the command of the Governor of Indiana through the 81st Troop Command. Members have regular civilian careers and meet for drills one day per month unless activated by the governor during an emergency. When not volunteering, IGR soldiers are students, teachers, attorneys, police officers and everything in between.
More information about the Indiana Guard Reserve is available at in.gov/IGR.