Local News

Army of Soldiers Help Clean Up Fayetteville School Damaged by Fire

Posted April 27, 2000

— A group of Fort Bragg soldiers set out on a special mission Friday. They volunteered to clean up Berean Baptist Academy, aschool damaged by firea week ago.

PVT Samuel Jennings, 20, is not from Cumberland County, but that did not stop the Mississippi native from helping a Fort Bragg neighbor.

"I believe this is as important as war. Yes, we are in the Army to help other people, but we never forget our own. We never forget our own," he says.

A week after fire swept through part of the school, members of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, BOSS, helped clean up the gymnasium.

The school expected 50 volunteers; more than 150 came to serve.

"We had to scurry to say what can we have them do. We never dreamed we'd have that problem," says John Woosley, associate pastor.

From cleaning carpets to peeling apart records to giving students a military lesson, these volunteers did it all. They were not looking for a trophy or recognition. They say it is what they do.

The soldiers say this is a way to fight the negative image often associated with young soldiers and to give back to the community they temporarily call home.

"I think we all have to help each other whether it is public, private, military or what. It's just part of the community. We have to help each other," says SPC Denice Malave.

The school gymnasium will remain closed for a while. But because of all the hard work by the soldiers, school leaders hope to move students from temporary classrooms in the church across the street to their main school house as soon as Monday.


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