Soccer Balls Nets And Gear Given To Villagers
Soldiers work to maintain the peace, but when it comes time to interact with the villagers, that is often their favorite duty. Some soldiers are starting their own projects along with patrols into the community, to help foster understanding, and trust among the local citizens.
A young man here at home, Jake Zinecker from Pennsylvania wanted to help. Thirteen-year-old Jake decided he wanted to help by giving some soccer equipment to the children of Iraq. He stared a small project; “Soccer for Peace in Iraq,” and began to collect donations and soccer equipment. A soldier serving in Iraq, Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Pixley heard about the project.
Pixler helped the young PA boy make his dream come true. Sgt Pixley is a member of 923 MTT, 2nd Tank Battalion working with the Iraqi Army. Pixler took the donated soccer gear and helped distribute it. In the end, nearly sixty soccer balls and various other types of soccer gear was collected in the United States by Jake Zinnecker and members of his school. There was also clothing toys and games collected.
This material was shipped to Iraq, where soldiers assisted Sgt Pixley in passing it out to children. The solders coined the effort “Operation Fuzeball,” and once the soccer gear reached Iraq things went very smoothly. The materials were passed out in the Jurf Al-Mila School a week ago. The school children were very excited, and were assembled with their local Sheik and their parents.
“That was sort of nuts, but a wonderful thing,” said Captain Craig Young. Captain Young also assisted with the soccer and toy distribution. He also serves with the 923rd MiTT team. “It was sure a good feeling to be able to hand out these materials to these kids,” said Captain Young.