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A soldier’s angels

Local Army private thanks Auburn group for their monthly support
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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It was a simple yet jubilant exchange of thank yous that brought ear-to-ear smiles to the faces of an American soldier and the people who give him “priceless” moral support each month. On Thursday, Pvt. Trevor Powers stopped by Southside Art Center in Auburn to express his gratitude for the monthly letters and care packages he receives from center participants, who are adults with developmental disabilities. The participants adopted Powers as their soldier through the Soldiers’ Angels program. Soldiers’ Angels is a non-profit organization that enlists volunteers to support men and women serving in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. “It’s really a blessing and uplifting when you’re away from home and you get little things from home,” Powers said. Powers grew up in Alta and graduated from Colfax High School in 2001. He joined the U.S. Army in April 2008. “I wanted to serve my country,” Powers said. “I wanted to protect my family and friends.” Powers recently returned home after finishing basic training in Texas. Later this month, he will travel to his next assignment at a station in Colorado to do intelligence operations work. Powers said he looks forward to receiving the paintings and letters from art center participants. “The pictures they draw me are just priceless,” Powers said. The art center got involved with the angels program about a year ago, according to Robin Knapp, Southside Art Center resource specialist. She said Powers is the second soldier they’ve adopted. Knapp explained that the angels project is one of many tasks that center participants do to be a part of the community. She said the adults of the center also volunteer at the county cathouse shelter, help deliver meals to seniors using the Meals on Wheels program, and will pull weeds and help with other maintenance at community parks. “We do a lot of really different, wonderful work with the community,” Knapp said. Participants were visibly excited to meet and interact with Powers Thursday. Patti Methvin’s eyes grew wide when she was told Powers was in the building. Methvin made a beeline for Powers and immediately hugged him. She continued to hold on to his hand as he thanked her. Methvin said she was “excited.” Vince Raimondi, another avid Soldiers’ Angels participant, said he “paints” for the soldiers. Adaptive skills trainer Bobbi Jo Wetherell, said Raimondi was “very excited” when she picked him up this morning and told him that Powers was coming to visit. “Vince got the biggest smile on his face and couldn’t wait to get here,” Wetherell said. When participant Johna Richardson asked what she writes to the soldiers, she said, “Thank you.” Christina Creller, adaptive skills trainer, said she helps Jason Banish write his letters. She said Banish is non-verbal but nods or smiles when he likes something that she writes. “By the expression on his face I can tell what he wants to put down,” Creller said. Powers said he wants to do his part to support the program. “I tell them how much I appreciate their support,” Powers said. “Every time I come back, I’m going to visit.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.