When South Carolina was hit by massive flooding from a storm earlier this month, Staff Sgt. Daniel Freeman with 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, felt he had to act.
After looking up different shelters in South Carolina, Freeman asked his co-workers if they wanted to help, and they agreed.
Freeman went around the community to local business owners and other units asking for personal donations for South Carolinians suffering from the recent historic floods. One unit formation stood out in its kindness.
“Finally, I got to one of the formations the Thursday before we left. And five minutes later, I had $500 in donations,” Freeman said.
After a week, he and Staff Sgt. Andrew Ruff and Staff Sgt. William Diederich, both with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, as well as Michael Clark, a civilian with Tank-Automotive and Armament Command Life
Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC), had gathered more than 3,000 pounds of supplies, including water, dog and cat food, clothing, toys, formula and kitchen equipment and utensils.
On Oct. 10, the group hauled the supplies in two trucks and a trailer to a donation center in Columbia, South Carolina. When they arrived, the woman in charge of the center was surprised by how far they had come and gave Freeman a big hug.
“Most of the people that were dropping off (supplies) were from the local area that hadn’t been hit,” Freeman said. “So to have soldiers from that far away come help was very surprising to her.”
Supporting relief efforts in South Carolina is not new to Freeman. In 1989, his family had just moved away from Columbia before Hurricane Hugo hit.
“Once it was safe to travel, my mom, had the same idea I had a couple of weeks ago and got up a lot of donations through churches and various organizations,” Freeman said. “And we took a truckload to Columbia and Charleston to help out. So it was a déjà-vu scenario.”
Seeing the community have hardly any hesitation when asked for help was a big takeaway for Freeman from the experience.
“What was great for me is to see all the soldiers want to help without having orders from their command to go help,” Freeman said about working with soldiers to help out the community.
“They felt like that was their way to give back to the community during our garrison time that we spend here in the U.S.,” he added. “Because it’s not often that we get to go out and help the public. So that was a great opportunity for everybody.”