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U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Reyes
Charlie Company Soldier Gives Back to African Youngsters

By Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, May 2, 2007 — His one-year tour in Djibouti, Africa, is almost over, but U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Reyes of 1-294 Charlie Company is still doing good deeds in the local community with donations of soccer balls. The equipment goes straight to a girls’ soccer team he helped create, in Tadjoura, Djibouti.

In November, Reyes was finishing up one of his security shifts when he noticed a group of kids playing soccer, but their foot work wasn’t accurate. He went over to show them the right moves.

“I thought they might injure themselves, so I showed them some basic soccer skills, such as trapping and kicking the ball,” said Reyes.

It started as a small gesture, then evolved into a team of 10 girls who enjoy soccer just as much as Reyes.

“We appreciate everything he’s done for us as a team,” said team member Fatoumo Mohamed. “Without his help we wouldn’t have soccer balls or a better grasp of soccer.”

In addition to fine-tuning their foot work, Reyes donated money to pay for playing time after school and ordered soccer jerseys for each of the girls. The team name on the shirts affectionately reads “Club Reyes.”

“The jerseys make them look like an official team, and it gives them more inspiration to play the game after I go back to Guam,” said Reyes.

Reyes went on to say the people of Tadjoura are like family, and it has warmed his heart to do something nice for people who truly appreciate the gesture. For him it was a rewarding experience to engage with the locals, but on a professional level it was a small way to support the Horn of Africa mission.

“Part of our mission at CJTF-HOA is to win the hearts and minds of the people here,” said Reyes.

Photo - See caption below.
Members of a girls’ soccer team, which U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Reyes of 1-294th Charlie Company helped create, hold their latest gift from Reyes -- soccer balls -- in Tadjoura, Djibouti, April 18, 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy.

“What better way to do that then to donate soccer balls or make monetary donations here and there. Watching their faces light up makes it all worth it in the end.”

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, a unit of U.S. Central Command, conducts operations and training to help partner nations fight terrorism and establish secure, stable environments. More than 1,700 people from each branch of the U.S. military, civilian employees, coalition forces and partner nations make up the CJTF-HOA organization. The area of responsibility for CJTF-HOA includes the countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen
Last Updated:
05/01/2007, Eastern Daylight Time
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