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Single Soldiers Make Special Olympics Athletes Feel Right At Home

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RALEIGH — They're soldiers, they're single and they've come to Raleigh to lend a hand for the1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The Fort Bragg troops are part of a base program for unmarried soldiers. It is not a lonely hearts club. It is a group known for its volunteer spirit.

Meet BOSS, a group of 175 soldiers looking for Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers.

"Most Army programs focus on the family, so this program was established to really focus on the needs of the single soldier," says Cathy Mansfield, the Fort Bragg liaison for the Special Olympics.

"BOSS gives them a home-like environment, so when you're away from home, they try to make it home," soldier Micha McDowell says of the group's efforts at the Special Olympics.

Some dorm rooms atMeredith Collegeare home for them until next Thursday. From that base, the soldiers will be delivering bags of linens and gift bags to every dorm room at Meredith,N.C. StateandUNC-Chapel Hill. The supplies will greet Special Olympics athletes and coaches when they arrive next week for the World Games.

"I like helping the kids out in every way possible," says soldier Lamond Chapple. "I love the kids so, you know, I'll do what I can for them."

Doing good deeds in the community is not uncommon for members of BOSS.

"The BOSS program is about that. It's about helping other people. It's about trying to create leadership in us," says soldier Quenshonna Corel.

Corel was disappointed when she heard her visit would be over by the time most athletes arrive.

"My goal was to be able to meet and to share with the athletes, and we've been told that we'll be able to share with some of them so that's OK then," Corel says.

International athletesbegan arriving in the Triangle area earlier this week.