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Group efforts benefit National Guard armory

Donations collected by a committee comprised of many city employees, officials and volunteers were used to purchase much needed items for the Army National Guard’s 857th Engineer Company Armory in Picayune.

The funds, more than $10,000 raised during a radiothon, boot drive and a “Pennies for Soldiers” fund raising event, were donated by the supportive local community.

The radiothon involved community members calling in to the local radio station to pledge a donation, the boot drive involved Picayune firefighters collecting donations at intersections within the city while the “Pennies for Soldiers” raised funds at all three of the county’s school districts, Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown said.

The donations were used to purchase a refrigerator and ice machine for the National Guard armory in Picayune. The addition of the refrigerator and ice machine will allow members of the local National Guard Company to store food and enjoy cold drinks.

“We would like to thank everyone for the great contributions,” said Sgt. First Class Jory Babin. “We will put them to good use.”

Two monuments commemorating the Company’s deployment to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012 and 2013 were also purchased with the donations. One of the monuments is placed in front of the armory while a second identical monument resides at the Veteran’s Memorial in front of Picayune’s city hall, Brown said.

The cost for both monuments was $6,320 while the cost of the refrigerator and ice machine was $4,609.

Brown said there are remaining funds that will be used to provide the 857th Engineer Company with breakfast in the near future, Brown said.

Brown expressed his appreciation to the community who stood behind their local National Guard Company and the volunteers who helped make the fund raising events successful.

“We would like to offer a big ‘Thanks’ to all that worked so hard to make this dream a reality. There were so many hands that were involved,” Brown said. “Picayune, Pearl River Central, and Poplarville School districts were wonderful with the fund raising efforts along with the public providing donations at the boot drives that were held. At the end of the day we wanted to give our troops, that give of themselves to protect our freedoms, a little something to let them know that our community really cares for them and appreciates what they do for us.”