Arkansas Army National Guard unit lends hand to Salvation Army

SSGT Blake Nesbitt and Pvt. Noah Gonzalez fold a sheet while helping out at the Salvation Army on Saturday. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)
SSGT Blake Nesbitt and Pvt. Noah Gonzalez fold a sheet while helping out at the Salvation Army on Saturday. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)

El Dorado's Salvation Army got a helping hand on Saturday thanks to a visit from members of the Arkansas Army National Guard's Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP), which is based in Warren. The National Guard members came to the Salvation Army's Family Store in El Dorado Saturday morning to help out with tasks in the store ranging from vacuuming, rearranging, emptying trash to grass trimming and cleaning windows.

"We come together monthly for drills and what we've started doing over the last year are quarterly community engagements. It lets us come out and help the community with whatever they might need," said SFC Bruce Goodman.

Salvation Army Maj. David Robinson readily accepted the offer of help.

"We've been blessed by the amount of donations recently. We went from the store being the same old stuff to suddenly overstuffed. So it's great to have them help thin it out and create space to bring stuff in," Robinson said.

The more than 40 Guardsmen and women were busy folding clothes, moving items and cleaning Saturday morning and planned to stay until around noon, at which time Robinson said the Salvation Army planned to feed them before they headed out for the next community task.

"We just appreciate the opportunity to work with them," Robinson said.

Goodman said the purpose of the program is simply to make the National Guard more visible in the community.

"The intent is just to come down, help out a community organization...so we're here to help the Salvation Army get their storefront squared away, and just to do whatever they need," he said.

SSGT Blake Nesbitt, a south Arkansas native, said he was glad to have this region be a beneficiary of the Guard's outreach.

"It means a lot to be a part of the National Guard because that's what we do - help the community... We want to let people know that we're here for you, especially anytime during something like COVID or during a disaster, we want people to know the National Guard isn't just part of the military, that we're part of the [community] and wear civilian clothes just like you do," Nesbitt said.

photo The National Guard came to the El Dorado Salvation Army's Family Store on Saturday to help out, taking on tasks including washing windows. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)
photo The National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program stopped by El Dorado on Saturday to work at the Salvation Army Family Store. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)
photo The National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program stopped by El Dorado on Saturday to work at the Salvation Army Family Store. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)

Upcoming Events