Clyde’s Market donated $20,000 to Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield Survivor Outreach Services, a program with Army Community Services that assists families of fallen service members.
The money was raised during the organization’s annual charity golf tournament that occurs in the spring and they have been donating to Fort Stewart programs for several years.
“Early on, we wanted to do it for children of fallen soldiers, and there’s a lot of red tape involved and all that kind of stuff,” said Greg Woolard, the CEO of Clyde’s Market, during the presentation event at the Rusty Pig, which Clyde’s also owns.
Woolard learned about SOS through his company’s donations to Fort Stewart’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation and has been donating to SOS for the past few years.
“And that was as close as we could get to really giving it to the children for things,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing the videos that are made about the excursions that happen because of the donations that we give,” Woolard later added.
Cheryl Sowell, Survivor Outreach Services coordinator, came from a law-enforcement and victim advocate background and, as a military spouse, she wanted to do something that had meaning to her.
“I see survivors. I’m a military spouse myself. And the survivors,” Sowell said, pausing. “I want them to be treated right, the way I would want to be treated. So, by virtue of that, I thought, well let’s just go down this road and see what we can do. And we’ve been pretty successful with it.”
SOS started in 2008 with responsibilities but no funding, and that had always been the biggest issue, Sowell said. Woolard asked the organization for a presentation on the program, and afterward decided to donate.
“And it really has made a big difference to our families,” Sowell said, “’cause I’m seeing smiles and laughter where … I saw nothing but grief and crying. So it’s a good thing. It’s really a good thing.”
In the Fort Stewart area alone, SOS works with 679 individuals, and regionally it reaches more than 3,500 people, according to Sowell.
SOS offers these families — which includes National Guard, Reserve and retirees — a variety of events, including adventure outings, Gold Star Mother’s day and luncheons.
“We try our best to … make them smile,” she said, “or just spend time with them. And nobody really knows what somebody else is feeling but a survivor.”
There to receive the check on behalf of SOS was Col. Townley Hedrick, Fort Stewart’s garrison commander. He said it is important to care for and show the families of fallen service members that they are not forgotten, and their loved ones are not forgotten.