Connecting With Community: Soldiers From Glamoc Help Local Schools
Capt. Steve Hawken
First published in
SFOR Informer#171, June, 2004
Sometimes a tour can just be tour. Get in, do your time,
and go home. This was certainly not the case for many of the
British and Canadian soldiers stationed at the Forward Storage
Site (FSS) in Glamoc, Bosnia Herzegovina.
Over the past six months, British Army Corporal Scott Sherrett
and Canadian Corporal Amanda Vogler both with FSS Range Control,
have spent a lot of their spare time, not preparing to go
home, but rather helping to raise some much needed money for
the local school kids in Glamoc.
The first stop of the day was to the local kindergarten where,
amidst the children, Cpls Sherrett and Vogler presented the
kindergarten's head teacher, Sister Janja Martina Katovic,
with a cash donation of 750 Euros to be used for some of the
school's ongoing restoration projects.
"It's a lot of money," said Sister Katovic. "We
are going to install shutters on the windows of the school
because during the summer it gets too hot for the kids."
With more generosity to come, the SFOR soldiers were off to
the local secondary school to meet with the principle and
present him with a new television and video cassette recorder.
"We just got them at the right time that we need them
because providing both suitable facilities and equipment have
been a challenge in the past," said Jerolim Bakovic.
"Every small bit helps, even those things we take for
granted, this new equipment will make it a lot easier for
both the staff and the students."
The reason this particular donation, and indeed the entire
day was special, was that the money that was presented came
from the extra efforts of the SFOR soldiers stationed at FSS
on the outskirts of Glamoc.
"All of the fundraising activities were done on the soldiers
spare time," said the Officer Commanding FSS, Capt David
Barlow. "One of the questions they asked themselves was
how they were going to raise some money and they came up with
some creative ways."
Some of these creative ways included charging admission to
special mess events, paying to swap ranks for a day, as well
as auctioning off a few collector sports items.
"We spoke with a number of Canadian and British sports
teams and ask them if they could send us a few items to auction
off," said Cpl Amy Volger. "Some of the British
football teams sent in signed shirts and other memorabilia
which we auctioned on BFBS and raised a great deal of money."
Donating money and gifts weren't the only things the soldiers
provided for the kids. Cpl Sherrett spent a lot of his spare
time at the secondary school painting educational murals on
the walls for the students. According to Sherrett it was just
the right thing to do. "I walked straight in, saw bare
space on the wall and I just knew I could do some work,"
said Sherrett. "I'd do about five or six hours a day
and every time I would take a step back and say 'ya that's
cool'." In fact he was such a novelty for the students
that an area needed to be cordoned off for him to work.
The relationship between the students and teachers of Glamoc
and the troops stationed at FSS is not a new one. "Our
relationship with the SFOR soldiers has been very good,"
said Sister Katovic. "They often come down with donations
for the children and have also helped to fix things around
According to the two soldiers from FSS Glamoc it was something
they liked doing. "I enjoyed doing it," says Cpl
Volger "I originally just went out to help with some
of the families because most of them are too old to work or
they live in the middle of nowhere and are completely isolated.
The satisfaction you get from helping someone through a tough
time is just great. My only regret is that I wish we could
have done more for them."
Cpl Sherrett agrees, "I wish we could be here a little
bit longer. This is the first time I've done anything like
this, and actually, I really enjoyed it. I feel like the tour
has been more worthwhile and when I do get back to Germany
I would like to take it up again."