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NEWS | Dec. 31, 2014

Soldiers "High Five," Give Back to Local Community

By Cpl. Song Gun-woo US Army

When living in another country, understanding differences in culture can be one of the biggest concerns people have. Getting along harmoniously with local nationals might seem intimidating and the language barrier makes it even more so. However, getting together with the community to lend a helping hand can help break the ice.

On December 23, six Soldiers from 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, received awards and recognition from Mayor Oh Se-chang of Dongducheon for their volunteer services teaching English to local students as a part of the local "High-Five" English program at the Dongducheon Yangju Office of Education in Dongducheon, South Korea.

The awards were given amidst a recital given by the local schools participating in the program as a way of saying thank you and showing the Soldier teachers how much they have learned.

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde., worked in hand to hand with Sadong Elementary School in Dongducheon to help students learn English.

Both Lt. Col. Don Potoczny, commander of 1st Bn., 38th FA Regt., and Republic of Korea Army Sgt. Maj. Jung Hyun-sik, the Republic of Korea Army senior leader for the battalion, received awards.

Pfc. Chanese Jackson, one of the awardees and a field artillery firefinder radar operator assigned to the 333rd Forward Target Acquisition Battery, 1st Bn., 38th FA Regt., mentioned how the program helps both sides of the local community and U.S. Soldiers communicate and strengthen bonds between the two nations.

"I think it strengthens the alliance because it gives Soldiers the chance not only to fulfill the mission, it also shows the people of Dongducheon and Korea that we are here for them and the children," said Jackson.

Lt. Col. Michael Kimaball, commander of 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde., and ROKA Sgt. Maj. Lee Su-hyun, the ROK senior enlisted leader for the battalion, represented their battalion in receiving the awards.

Soldiers of the 1st Bn., 15th FA Regt. have been teaching at Sangpae Elementary School and Dongducheon Middle School as part of the "High-Five" program each week.

Mayor Oh Se-chang of Dongducheon thanked the Soldiers for their services to the local community and how they were of great help to the students.

"I believe interacting with native speakers at a young age can help them reduce the fear of talking to foreigners as well as study their language," said Oh Se-chang. "I would like to thank the teachers [Soldiers] for their time this year and believe they had a fun time as well."
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