Soldiers helping soldiers
New partnership begins with a food pantry for enlisted personnel
Soldiers in the U.S. Army learn loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage from the moment they start basic combat training. And, they commit to live by these values, whether they are on or off the job.
Veterans working at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies, continue to be guided by these core values. One way they do this is by partnering with causes that help military families.
“Since I retired from the military, I’ve discovered that I have two hands – one for helping my family and the other for helping others,” said Randy McIntire, a director in Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
Nate Jones served 26 years in the Army and was one of the first Patriot system operators. He volunteers at the Armed Services YMCA Soldier’s Pantry in Lawton, Oklahoma.
“It is so important to have each other’s backs,” said Jones, also a director in the company's Land Warfare & Air Defense mission area. “It is a brotherhood, a sisterhood and we all watch out for one another."
As part of its support, the company donated $5,000 to the Lawton-Fort Sill Armed Services YMCA, marking the start of a new partnership.
Jones, along with a half-dozen fellow employees and members of the local Armed Services YMCA, gathered to assemble care packages of food for enlisted soldiers at nearby Fort Sill and Altus Air Force Base. Junior enlisted service members are eligible to receive a monthly food box from what is now nicknamed the Hero’s Pantry. They also prepared welcome packs for new families on base.
Volunteer Angela Boyd, an international program lead for Raytheon Missiles & Defense, remembers how food pantries and military lending closets once helped meet her family’s basic needs.
“I shopped at Goodwill for my newborn, accepted help from food pantries and now show my gratitude by helping organizations that were willing to help me in my time of need,” Boyd said.
Making an impact
It can be hard for soldiers and their families to make ends meet. While the military provides a salary and allowances to offset the cost of living, families often find themselves hard pressed, and donations help stretch their budgets.
“Anyone could find themselves in this position,” said David Madison, a Raytheon Missiles & Defense employee and a 22-year Army veteran. “Volunteering is one way employees show soldiers they are never alone."
Vicky Smith is a technical editor for Raytheon Missiles & Defense and she volunteers at the food pantry. Smith never served in the military, but she did write about soldiers while working as a journalist.
“Lawton is a military town and the soldiers and veterans are close to my heart,” Smith said. “I am honored to serve alongside our nation’s heroes both at the company and in a volunteer capacity.”