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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Jan. 4, 2022

Oklahoma Guardsmen give back during 2021 holiday season

By Anthony Jones, Oklahoma National Guard

The 2021 holiday season was one of giving back to the community for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.
From taking part in unit-level food drives to a statewide sock drive or simply giving their time to help sort through donations, Oklahoma National Guard members found many ways to help their fellow Oklahomans this past December.
One of the biggest ways members gave back was through the second annual Oklahoma National Guard Family Program Office sock drive.
Clay Fees, director of the Family Program Office, said the sock drive, which asks Oklahoma National Guard members to donate new, unused socks and undergarments for homeless veterans, is an extension of the Warrior Ethos and serves as a way of not leaving behind a comrade who has fallen on misfortune.
Starting in November and running through Dec. 16, Airmen and Soldiers dropped off socks and undergarments with family readiness specialists at their local armory or air base. From there, the Family Program Office collected the donations and delivered them to the Department of Veterans Affairs who then distributed to homeless veterans across the state.
“Socks and underwear are always the items in highest demand in shelters, and these garments will directly aid veterans who may be struggling in their lives,” Fees said. “I am proud of the Family Programs personnel and personnel from the two Airman and Family Readiness offices for the hard work in executing this drive, and to the Soldiers and Airmen, as well as anyone associated with the Oklahoma National Guard, that contributed to this noble effort.”
One of the units that found ways to give back in addition to the annual sock drive is the 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Norman, Oklahoma.
Soldiers with the 700th BSB, donated more than 670 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable foods to a local food bank.
The food drive was organized by the battalion chaplain, and unit leaders from company commanders down to section sergeants helped encourage members of the battalion to support the drive, said Sgt. 1st Class Casey Hooper, 700th BSB readiness noncommissioned officer.
“Having this type of backing, and with the small edge of competition added in, motivated the BSB Soldiers to show up and show out in a big way for the state,” Hooper said. Many of our Citizen-Soldiers have spent these last couple of years volunteering their time and support to help Oklahoma and we expected nothing less when we asked them to help with a food drive.”
Hooper said the amount of goods donated says a lot about the dedication the BSB Soldiers have to Oklahoma.
“Our Soldiers have never let us down when it comes to volunteering to help in their communities from fun events such as the Women's College World Series to their response to the Governor's call for COVID response volunteers,” Hooper said. “We know the BSB can be counted on to answer the call.”
Another group of Soldiers who gave back during the holiday season were members of the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th IBCT, who volunteered with an Edmond-based charity to organize and catalogue donated items. Their work helped ensure donations could be put to the best use for the charity.
Both Air National Guard bases also organized support for their local communities including hosting angel trees where Airmen provided gifts to children or senior adults.
Video by Cpl. Danielle Rayon
Oklahoma National Guard breaks ground on new museum
Oklahoma National Guard
May 16, 2024 | 1:42
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma National Guard broke ground on the new Oklahoma National Guard Museum in Oklahoma City in a ceremony attended by veterans and current National Guard members on May 16.

“Today is a milestone for us as we kick off [construction of the new museum],” said Denise Neil, executive director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum. “It’s an exciting time, shoveling the dirt forward as a symbolic way to show our kick-off.”

Neil said the new 39,375-square-foot building, located at 3301 NE Grand Blvd in Oklahoma City, will provide the Museum with the space and tools needed to tell the Oklahoma National Guard’s story from its founding through modern times.

Denise Neil; Executive Director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum