Soldiers Helping Soldiers

New partnership begins with a food pantry for enlisted service members

Volunteers work at the Ft. Sill Food Bank

Employees came together to help organize food kits for soldiers at the Lawton YMCA. 

In the U.S. military, Army soldiers learn loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage from the moment they step foot in basic combat training. From then on, they commit to living these values daily, whether they are on the job or off.

At Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies, former soldiers carry these values into the company and live by them whether they are in the office or in the community. 

Partnering with causes that give to military families means everything to these volunteers. 

“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 for 26 years in the Army and was one of the first Patriot operators. He spends some of his own time working at the Soldier’s Pantry, where volunteers put together care packages for Ft. Sill enlisted.

“It is so important for us to have each other’s back,” Jones, the business’ director of Air & Missile Defense, said. “It is a brotherhood, a sisterhood and we all watch out for one another, even after serving in the military.”  

Making care packages

Jones, along with half a dozen fellow employees and members of the Lawton Armed Services YMCA, came together to assemble care packages of food for soldiers at nearby Fort Sill and Altus Air Force Base. They also made welcome packages to deliver to new families on base. All junior enlisted service members are eligible to receive a monthly food box from what is now nicknamed the Heroes’ Pantry.

Volunteer Angela Boyd, an international program lead who works for Raytheon Missiles & Defense in Lawton, remembers how food pantries and military lending closets once helped her 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,” she said.

Every little bit helps

It can be hard for soldiers and their families to make ends meet; while the Army pays a salary and military allowances to offset the cost of living, families often find themselves hard-pressed. Donations help them stretch their budgets.

“Anyone could find themselves in this position,” said David Madison, who is a Raytheon Missiles & Defense volunteer in Lawton and a veteran with 22 years in the Army. “Volunteering is one way the employees show soldiers they are never alone,” Madison said. 

When the desire to serve is personal

For Jones, the desire to serve is personal. He remembers times when his family would have gone hungry if not for the food bank and the generosity of others. So today, he gives back by helping those in need.

Joining in on the effort, Raytheon Technologies donated $5,000 to the Lawton Armed Services YMCA, marking the beginning of a new partnership. 

Small efforts make a big impact

Of course, you don’t have to be a veteran to help veterans or active-duty military. Vicky Smith, a technical editor for Integrated Air and Missile Defense, never served. But she did write about soldiers during her days as a journalist. 

“Lawton is a military town and the soldiers and veterans are close to my heart,” Smith said.

“I am honored to be able to serve alongside our nation’s heroes both at the company and in a volunteer capacity.”

Published On: 10/14/2020