COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - More than 100 Fort Benning soldiers spent the day working outside at the Anne Elizabeth Shepard Home renovating and making repairs trying to make a better scenery for the youth living at the group home.
The Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home is a home for girls between the ages of seven and eighteen where they get to participate in a program that specializes in working with girls who have been victims of sexual trauma.
Directors at the home say people often come out and volunteer, but have never had a group this big.
“With 130 classmates out here today, the amount of work that’s been done in our woods for the girls, and the community can use our ropes course and our lake, it’s just phenomenal, we are just thrilled,” said Sheri Cody, the Executive Director for Twin Cedars, the organization that operates the home.
Soldiers say doing projects like this is a part of what they do and are happy to be able to make a difference for the girls.
They worked on painting, landscaping, replacing and repairing outdoor fixtures.
“Being in the military, you’re serving your country and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re serving the community, it may be on a smaller scale. We have 128 candidates out here which, across an eight-hour day, can be up to 700-man hours, which is a huge impact for a small organization like the Shepherd Home,” said U.S. Army Captain Travis Thompson.
The Program Director for Twin Cedars, Ramon Allen, says this will give them more time to work with their girls in a peaceful environment.
“More opportunity to have activities with our young girls, canoeing, some fishing and also to be able to sit out and have some picnics and just to enjoy the outdoors,” said Allen.
The program at the Shepherd Home encourages the girls to display their strengths to their peers.
Soldiers say they are able to bring some of the similar things the Army teaches them by doing this project.
“The Army tries to instill discipline, physical and mental toughness, the ability to endure a lot of hardships and I feel like the home here is dealing with different types of hardships and that’s something we can bring to the table, here we can bring a support system,” said Captain Thompson.
Directors at the Shepherd Home are thankful for what the soldiers were able to accomplish.
“We were standing here on the curb looking down and now we can see the lake. We haven’t been able to see the lake in years,” said Cody.