Athol Daily News 3/26/2009
ORANGE — Pete’s Tire Barns Inc. recently donated a number of soccer balls to be distributed to impoverished children in Iraq.
In response, the company has received the following letter from the U.S. Army Military Transition Team 2nd Division, Iraqi Army, Mosul, Iraq, expressing appreciation for the donation:
“On behalf of all the Griffin Team, I want to thank the owners and managers of Pete’s Tire Barn, of Orange, Mass., for your generous donation of soccer balls to the impoverished children of Iraq. My team and I are U.S. Army Soldiers stationed in Mosul, Iraq. We are a 25-person combat advisor, military transition team. I have included a picture of us. Our role is to live and work with Iraqi Soldiers in an effort to strengthen their capability to provide security for the city of Mosul, which is the third largest city in Iraq.
“In doing our mission, we leave the compound daily with the Iraqi Army and visit various neighborhoods throughout the city. Very often, we encounter hundreds of children across the city who live in poverty and have very little money, resources, shelter or equipment to organize any form of sporting event. One sport that is extremely popular is soccer. As we drive by, we see kids holding up both of their hands signaling a request for us to throw them a soccer ball. We have hundreds of Beanie Babies and other toys that we do provide to them, but many would prefer a soccer ball so they could play with each other in a team sport.
“Just after we arrived in October 2008, I was lucky to have had donated 10 soccer balls which we gave out along our routes. We were amazed at the enthusiasm and raised spirits of the kids when we threw out a soccer ball. In every case, the kids immediately started up a scratch soccer game. It was wonderful to see. I can absolutely assure you that we will distribute your donated soccer balls every day we go out. This will bring many smiles to many Iraqi kids.
“Additionally, it helps to show a good American image of giving and, I truly believe, it helps keep the Soldiers in perspective about people who have very little and keeps in check what we are here trying to do. In other words, this helps keep our Soldiers motivated in doing the right thing and working hard despite the separation from friends and family and the danger they endure every day.
“Our Soldiers are proud to help the Iraqi Soldiers learn their craft so eventually, one day, our U.S. Soldiers and civilians may return to the United States, having made a difference in bringing safety and security to the people of Iraq, so that they may live in peace and enjoy the freedoms we enjoy in the United States.
“Again, thank you very much for your generous support.
“LTC Bob Brown, Executive Officer, U.S. Army Military Transition Team 2nd Division, Iraqi Army, Mosul, Iraq.”