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Military families volunteer at McDonald House
0328 Haille Cloutier
Haille Cloutier, daughter of Diane and Col. Roger Cloutier, dishes up salad while volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. - photo by Photo provided.
Family members of 1st Brigade Headquarters Company soldiers deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, are giving back to their community by cooking dinner for families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Savannah.
“We wanted to get together to volunteer for the house and also to give our military families an outlet to funnel positive energy into helping others during this potentially difficult time for our community,” said volunteer Diane Cloutier. “This experience has given us a tangible way to give back to our local community and neighbors.”
The group of volunteers was comprised of children and spouses of deployed soldiers. Bonded by the task of acting as single parents temporarily, the Army wives were grateful for the opportunity to create a new and fulfilling experience while helping families with sick children.
The house is a “home away from home” for families with critically ill or injured children receiving treatment in area hospitals. RMH is directly across the street from Memorial Health University Medical Center. To be eligible to stay at the house, the family must live more than 30 miles away from the hospital. Many military families from all around Georgia have children who are being treated at Memorial.  
“It’s been fun for us to get together for this night to cook dinner and learn more about how the Ronald McDonald House impacts the community. It’s easy to focus on your own situation, ours being the deployment, and this has really helped to put things in perspective,” said event organizer Valerie Cloutier.
The volunteers cooked up a feast of grilled chicken salad, soup, homemade cookies and chocolate mousse.
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