Spc. Jacob Mahaffey
2nd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
The Fort Drum USO thanked the Polar Bears of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, on March 2 at 4-31 Infantry headquarters.
Karen Clark, director of Fort Drum USO, personally came to the battalion to present the Polar Bears with a token of appreciation from the staff.
“A lot of the volunteers at the USO are seasoned people, and sometimes things can be too high up or too heavy for us to do, and we need some help,” Clark said. “We go to the Polar Bears, and consistently they do it.”
According to Clark, on one instance the Polar Bears saved what could have been hours and a lot of back pain for the USO volunteers.
“A sprinkler head had burst, and the entire area was wet and all of the furniture had to be moved,” Clark said. “I called Command Sgt. Maj. Benny Dobbs (senior enlisted adviser for 4-31 Infantry) at 7 a.m., and by 7:15, there were about 15 Soldiers at the USO ready and motivated to help.”
The Fort Drum USO opened in 2008, but had no battalion come out as a really dependable source for help, Clark said. Then the Polar Bears came along, and Clark said it feels as though the USO has been more or less adopted by them ever since.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark H. Oldroyd, Fort Drum garrison senior enlisted adviser, also attended to recognize the Polar Bears and to give them a certificate.
“It is important to keep our Army volunteering,” Oldroyd said. “It’s young men like these Polar Bears that keep that idea going.”
It was no surprise to hear that the Polar Bears were being visited by the USO, according to Oldroyd.
“These Polar Bear Soldiers are so proud to be in this unit; it shows in every individual Soldier,” he said.
“The Polar Bears have been like Family for us, just a phone call away,” Clark said. “No matter what time of the day, they are there to support us unconditionally.”