Soldiers surprise seniors with shoveled driveways

Soldiers from Fort Wainwright cleared walkways and driveways for senior citizens on Friday. There was plenty of snow to move. 

When senior citizen Janet White looked out the window of her Hamilton Acres home early Friday morning, she was surprised to see soldiers shoveling snow in her driveway.

“I’m looking out just to check to see if there’s a moose in my yard. I see six or seven 6-feet-tall and taller soldiers in uniform from Fort Wainwright shoveling my driveway,” she said, in a phone call to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “I was just thrilled.” 

The solders were members of Unit FFSC2-8 Field Artillery Regiment and they were shoveling driveways for seniors all over town.

The Fairbanks Senior Center organized the volunteer project after the unit reached out to volunteer their time to help senior citizens.

The senior center asked the soldiers to remove snow from homes of seniors, to allow safer delivery of Meals on Wheels and to allow seniors to safely leave their homes for medical visits or emergencies. 

“Walkways can be a hazard,” said Ashley Gourley, of the senior center.

The unit responded with 51 volunteers and quickly cleared driveways and sidewalks at 38 homes throughout Fairbanks and North Pole.

The Senior Center sent notices to seniors beforehand, but many people don’t like to ask for help, Gourley said. So they also sent notices to Meals on Wheels drivers, who were able to target residences that needed snow clearing.

Staff Sgt. Jimmy Spring organized the volunteer project with the senior center, with help from First Sgt. Kevin Poyer and Capt. Tyler Strause.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.