Lifting a Soldier’s Spirit Overseas

The following is written by Brenton Holbrook, a Grand Rapids, MI native stationed at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa:


When I was first assigned to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa with my mobile surgical team, I began looking for something to occupy my time since my work schedule was very different from other personnel on base.

When I came across the ARC(American Red Cross) Office I met the Station Manager there named Mary. She gave me the scoop about what the Red Cross offered there, and she informed me of a First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor Course after I told her what my job was in the Navy, which was a Hospital Corpsman. I instantly signed up for the class, and thus began what turned out to be 57 total volunteer hours at the ARC office prior to my team moving recently.

During some of these hours, Mary received a large number of care packages and needed them sorted. As I was going through the packages and sorting them, I was also collecting the package slips so she would be able to send thank you notes. When I went to reach for one I noticed that it said it was from Grand Rapids, MI. I was pretty geeked that there was a care package from my hometown in my hands, and when I told Mary she gave me the honors of opening it. It was great to receive something from home from so far away, and it was definitely a nice feeling.

I haven’t been home since last May, and I won’t be home for Post-Deployment Leave until April, so I will be gone for almost an entire year! My girlfriend Shelby has missed me terribly. When she was able to hear what had happened, I know it even lifted her spirits as she witnessed how my morale was definitely boosted a little bit.

I can’t wait until my plane lands at Gerald R. Ford Airport and I’m able to see them again! April 1st can’t come soon enough! I’ll finally land around 3-3:30 and not too much longer after that I get to give everyone a big hug, so your care packages do more than just send us needed supplies, it boosts us up for just a little while longer so we can get through another day away from our families and our homes!

Thanks for everything you do!


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