CAMP ZAMA, Japan (December 22, 2021) – What started as an idea and a cowardly plan from Sgt. 1st Class Willie Williams resulted in the delivery of several boxes of donated items to a local Japanese children’s home.
Williams, assigned to US Army Japan and President of the USARJ Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, visited Seikou Gakuen, a children’s home near Camp Zama, with US Army Garrison Command Sgt. Japan. Major Justin Turner, also a member of Audie Murphy, will provide sports equipment, sportswear and board games for children on December 20.
Williams said he had previously participated in toy drives at other facilities where he had been parked. Based on this experience, he came up with the idea to collect items for Seikou Gakuen as part of a community outreach project for the Audie Murphy Club. With help from the US Army Garrison’s Public Affairs Office in Japan, Williams reached out to the children’s home to find out what types of items they needed most.
“I wanted to share this tradition [of giving] with the local community, ”said Williams.
Once the idea solidified, Turner helped by setting up a donation zone in the USAG Japan headquarters building and reaching out to the Camp Zama community via social media to collect donations.
“I felt [like] the community would be eager to participate in the project, ”said Williams. “I was personally amazed at the amount of items we received. “
Williams said he was delighted to deliver the items to the children’s home and received a very warm welcome. The kids formed a circle around him and Turner and began to eagerly converse with them in English to practice their skills, Williams said.
Williams said he hopes the fundraising project can further strengthen the partnership between Camp Zama and Seikou Gakuen, and that he can help continue to build trust with the city of Zama, where Camp resides. Zama.
“Having an outreach program of this nature would help strengthen our care for the surrounding community and all of those who make Zama such a great place to be parked,” said Williams.
Masahiko Suzuki, head of the secretariat of Seikou Gakuen, said he and the staff were very grateful to the soldiers for visiting them and bringing the gifts during the holidays, and for giving the children the opportunity to ‘interact with them in person.
“I saw the kids have a great time talking directly to the soldiers,” Suzuki said. “It was a great experience for them. “
Suzuki said the children were very happy to see the gifts and were eagerly asking when they could open them. He said he hopes the children will have more opportunities to interact with the soldiers and strengthen their friendship in the future.
Williams said the fundraising campaign was a small example of something that embodied Sergeant Audie Murphy Club’s motto: “You lead from the front!” “
According to the USARJ website, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is made up of the top 2% of the U.S. Army’s NCOs. They are selected for the club on the basis of “demonstrated leadership, professionalism and general general military knowledge.” The club is a private, non-profit organization committed to contributing to the community.