Amarillo Army recruiter starts unique program for future soldier - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Amarillo Army recruiter starts unique program for future soldiers

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AMARILLO - Several area programs and organizations offer ways to send love to our military heroes overseas, such as the Socks for Soldiers program or the beef jerky drive by America Supports You Texas.

So it's not due lack of support that Sergeant First Class Justin Combs started the Adopt-A-Soldier program. It's a way to give soldiers with panhandle roots the personalized support they deserve.

"I just actually want you to get to know who these people are. These are actual human beings, these are people from your community," Combs said.
 
Combs says besides the recruiter who prepared him mentally and physically for basic training, he had no support from his local community before leaving to go become a soldier.

But he hopes that won't be the case for the 42 panhandle residents who have enlisted in the past six months.

"You know it would have been nice to actually know some people in the community to you know help me out and be there as an extra added support system," Combs said.
 
The Tascosa Lions Club is Sergeant Comb's partner in this effort.

"They deserve this. We're proud of them. We're going to follow them through their careers," Lions club member John Dodson said.

Several future soldiers have already joined the Lions Club and have volunteered with them cleaning up local highways.

Dodson said his group will mentor the future soldiers while they're still here in the panhandle, and provide them with more opportunities to get them involved in the community. He and his club members will continue to write and send supplies to the future soldiers throughout their entire career.

It's a way to give the young recruits a sense that the panhandle is a home to come back to.

"Getting these children, these boys and girls, involved in the civic organizations is going to be a help in the future for our country," Dodson said.

Combs says the only other similar program in the country is a successful one in New Jersey that he started.

"This isn't just my program, this is for our future soldiers to help them be better and help them out," Combs said.

Combs says he's still looking for volunteers who want to get involved in the adopt-a-soldier program. Those interested should stop by the army recruiting office at 200 Westgate parkway in Amarillo, or call 806-359-3335.