MIHAIL KOGĂLNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania –
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the Area Support Group-Black Sea Religious Services team, Civil Affairs Team 3231, 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, and the Red Cross, visited Little Rotterdam Placement Center in Constanta, Mar. 11, to play and spend time with children in need. Visiting the orphanage helps strengthen civil-military partner relations and extend a helping hand to the citizens of a host nation.
“The Army asks me to try to improve the morale of soldiers. I am paid to make Soldiers’ lives better, and to give back or to help people is amazing for your morale,” said Maj. Steven Chavez, chaplain at Area Support Group-Black Sea. “At the end of the day, you have kids that have less than we do, and we have the opportunity to help them out. In my mind, it’s kind of a no-brainer.”
Soldiers brought toys and games for the children to play with, and played basketball, soccer, and other sports with the boys and girls at the child placement center.
“We went out and had a big, massive recess with the kids,” said 1st Lt. Dennis Zaitsev, Host Nation Support Officer, Area Support Group-Black Sea. “I was really surprised. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had a lot of fun.”
The Soldiers and children enjoyed the day together, playing games and conversing with one another, even losing the time of the day trying to get to know one another through their language barriers.
“I wish that we can do more to make them know that they are creative and infinitely valuable,” said Chavez. “I think just spending a couple of hours with them, laughing, joking and playing games helps them understand that we care. If they grow up in a world where people care about them, it could change their view of the world in a positive way."
The chaplain plans on continuing to plan engagements with the Little Rotterdam Placement center, as well as other placement centers in Constanta. Their meeting resulted in a positive effect on both sides, where Soldiers received a boost in morale and Little Rotterdam Placement Center got a helping hand.
“I’m hoping to see this progress,” said Zaitsev. “They loved it and they’re going to enjoy building a relationship with us. I want to see where it goes.”