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NEWS | April 4, 2022

WOCs show community support with Rockbridge Area Relief Association

By Spc. Rhita Daniel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Virginia National Guard Warrant Officer Candidates completed their community project at the Rockbridge Area Relief Association March 19, 2022, in Lexington, Virginia. More than 10 WOCs participated in the event, and all were part of Class 22-001, taught by cadre assigned to the Fort Pickett-based Warrant Officer Candidate School at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

“As citizen soldiers it’s good for us to have a practical way to give back to and serve our state,” said Warrant Officer Candidate John McDonald. “We like to be here, to be engulfed in the community, and be involved in something that helps us with our mission.”

Completing a community project is a requirement for WOCS attendees. It provides the candidates a chance to work together on planning and executing a mission, while also giving back to the community. Class 22-001 opted to help at the RARA based on the high number of families served by the organization in the local community.
“This teaches our candidates the value of teamwork, leadership, and communication. Being out here shows the community that we care. We appreciate our community as much as they appreciate us,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Ford, one of the WOCS cadre members.

In a 2021 overview, the RARA estimated that more than 1,300 families composed of more than 3,500 individuals received support from their food pantries. Additionally, RARA estimated there were more than 300 tons of food distributed to families in need. Throughout the pandemic, RARA ensured community member’s access to food, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies and other items by operating as a drive-thru food pantry operation.

During their time at RARA, the WOCs dusted shelves, organized products, made small repairs and helped set up the drive-thru distribution lane.
The Virginia National Guard is actively seeking motivated individuals to join the Warrant Officer Corps. To learn more about what it takes to become a warrant officer, contact the 183rd RTI at 434-292-8371.

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