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Dec 18, 2009 10:25 PM by Andy Koen

A march of hope

Last year they celebrated Christmas in Iraq and this year the soldiers of Fort Carson's 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division are happy to be home and are happy to give back.

Some 300 members of the Raiders brigade assembled on a special mission Friday morning to help homeless of Colorado Springs.  They marched from Dorchester Park along Fountain Creek to the Marion House on a journey of hope.

At the soup kitchen, the soldiers distributed all of the coats, sweaters, food and camping gear that they had carried with them in their rucksacks to the families there.

"When we walk by and we see somebody who doesn't have the same blessings that we do, it's a pretty sobering experience to be able to look at that and realize just how well we have it and realize just how much we can give back," said SSG Darrell Cortez.

To the families they visited, their mission was a blessing.

"We can use it," said Eloy Valverde who recently became homeless after loosing his job.

"We can use that stuff because right now we got just the basics and it's cold."

Greg Gallegos who camps with Valverde said that many people in the camps have nothing.

"They just drink a lot to warm themselves up, but they don't need the alcohol, they need the blankets and the socks and stuff that people are donating," Gallegos said.

For the soldiers, it's a chance to give to the community.

"We understand a lot about privation and what it's like to be tired, cold, hungry and wet," said Lt. Col. Brandon Newton.

"Most of these soldiers have experienced that."

The men and women of the Raiders Brigade recently moved to Colorado Springs after being reassigned here from Fort Hood in Texas.  Lt. Col. Newton says he feels that the march is a way for he and his men to thank the community for its warm welcome.

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