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'Spiking' the morale of soldiers

Friday, September 11, 2009

(Photo)
Two area businesses, Shaw Chiropractic and Rebergers Cleaners, recently donated time and effort to raise money for volleyballs and volleyball nets for soldiers in the 138th Quartermaster in Brazil. On hand for the donation included (from left) Dr. Michael Shaw, Julie Shaw, Kim Wetnight, Sgt. First Class Paul Wetnight, Jacque Reberger and Charlie Reberger. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
Multiple local entities have combined forces to boost morale of local troops in Iraq by elevating their limited options of recreational activity.

The mission began with a simple conversation. Dr. Michael Shaw, a local chiropractor, made a habit out of conversing with Kim Wetnight, an employee at Rebergers Cleaners, a dry cleaning operation in Brazil.

Wetnight's husband, Paul, an Army E-7 Sergeant First Class, had been serving in Iraq, and Shaw would frequently inquire about how he was doing.

As conversations progressed, Wetnight informed Shaw her husband and several other members of his platoon, had to make an effort to discover some type of recreational activity as they were "in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do."

The primary activity Sgt. Wetnight and company enjoyed was playing volleyball.

Unfortunately, for the participants, their games were not funded with exemplary equipment and they were forced to play with flat volleyballs and garbage bags for nets. Shaw said he was disheartened to hear of the shoddy conditions the local troops were playing with and sought a way to give them better recreational options.

"I just want our boys to get a little recreation while they're fighting for our freedom," he said.

In an order to get the local unit better equipment, Shaw and Rebergers owner Charlie Reberger -- a former Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard -- teamed up with Coaches Corner, a sporting goods outlet in Terre Haute, to ship Wetnight and his company new materials, which included four volleyballs and two nets. Shaw said he attempted to get the materials out through the military, but was unsuccessful.

The delay seemingly became meaningless on July 24, when Wetnight, whose primary duty had already been completed, was sent home to tend to a family emergency.

And although the local soldier, who inspired his good deed, Shaw remained undeterred in trying to deliver the goods to local soldiers, and he sought out the combat veteran for assistance.

Shaw was in contact with Wetnight after he returned home from active duty and Wetnight informed him if he was still interested in delivering the goods, he would be able to send it free of charge.

As a result, the 138th Quartermaster out of Brazil will receive the four new balls and two new nets, which were originally intended for Wetnight.

"It's a great morale booster for the troops," Wetnight said. "There's been an outpouring (of support). This gives them something to look forward to."

Wetnight also dedicated flags to both Reberger and Shaw for their support.

Kim Wetnight said aside from the recreational joy the equipment may bring, she knows first hand the joy soldiers serving overseas feel when they receive personalized care packages from home.

"(A personalized package) lifts their spirits," she said. "I know they have the e-mail system, but it's still exciting for them to hear that mail call. Anything from home boosts their morale."

And while he seemed high on the morale boosting abilities of care packages, Shaw said just getting to play the sport is what the members in the military want to do.

"Our boys just want to play ball," Shaw said.


Comments
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DR.SHAW IS ALL CLASS.HE RUNS A CLASS ACT BUSINESSAND GIVES BACK TO THIS COMMUNITY AS MUCH IF NOT MORE THAN ANY BUSINESS IN TOWN.OUR YOUTH SPORTS AND SCHOOLS HAVE A LOT OF THINGS THAT ARE NEEDED BUT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT HE AND HIS WIFE JULIE A LIFE LONG RESIDENT OF BRAZIL.I HOPE AND PRAY FOR OUR LOCAL SOLDIERS SAFETY AS WELL AS ALL WHO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY.NOW THANKS TO THE SHAWS THE BRAZIL BOYS CAN SERVE IT UP.

-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Fri, Sep 11, 2009, at 11:35 PM

Please also cat811, Charlie is a retired E-8 from the Guard lets not forget his service to our nation. I hope all will frequent their businesses. Thanks to all, especially Paul who continues to serve our nation.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Sat, Sep 12, 2009, at 6:35 AM

I was blessed and please to see that the local folks are not forgetting those who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a reservist myself and a director of Volunteer Medics Worldwide , I know the importance of recreation and the importance of knowing that the "FOLKS BACK HOME" really care about us when we are downrange! Thanks to anyone who remembers the military no matter where we are serving! God Bless, Gerald Scott Flint volmedics@aol.com

-- Posted by volmedics on Sat, Sep 12, 2009, at 2:08 PM

sorry conservative Dad I thought I had all covered.Sorry to also Charlie God Bless you and God Bless the U.S.A.

-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Sat, Sep 12, 2009, at 8:41 PM

Thank you so much. I am with the 138th. We really appreciate the support. And look forward to recieving the volley balls. Anything that is something to do is wonderful by us. We really appreciate all the support that you guys give us. It's nice to know the people at home support what we are doing over here. Thanks a lot. Have a wonderful day! :)

-- Posted by BmB420 on Sun, Sep 13, 2009, at 1:51 AM

A refreshing story. support our troops!! checkmate

-- Posted by checkmate on Mon, Sep 14, 2009, at 10:27 AM


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