Local YMCA honored for military helping hand

A good deed did not go unnoticed by the Missouri National Guard.

It all began back in June of 2009 when a young soldier, Arik Miller, and his family got stranded in Louisiana, Missouri just before he was deployed to Qatar. Qatar is an Arabic State that borders Saudi Arabia.

Miller was travelling with his wife and two small children from Virginia to his duty station. They arrived in Louisiana to visit a relative when their car broke down. The relatives lived in a one bedroom house, which made a total of 4 adults and 5 children in the small home. They searched the town for help and eventually came to the Twin Pike Family YMCA.

That's when folks at the Twin Pike Family YMCA jumped into action.

Y staff called area organizations and agencies for help. They found a hotel room for the young family to use for several days. Churches and the Louisiana American Legion supplied the family with food and diapers for the infant child. Transportation to the Hannibal Armory was provided as needed and the family also received a temporary local YMCA scholarship including pool usage.

For all this the Missouri National Guard awarded the Twin Pike YMCA with a Heroes in the Background Certificate of Appreciation.

Assistance for the young family didn't stop there. The Twin Pike Family YMCA staff worked diligently to secure funding for Miller's wife and children to return to Virginia to live with the soldier's father as he went on to his deployment station.

The Missouri National Guard awarded the Twin Pike Family YMCA with a Heroes in the Background Certificate of Appreciation for its support of the Missouri National Guard and the State Family Program Office.

The certificate states that "Your sacrifices have had a profound effect on the life of a Mid Missouri Soldier and his Family. Patriotism is not exclusive to those in uniform and your patriotic spirit exemplifies the spirit that defines this great nation."

The unit Miller deployed with, the 175th Military Police Battalion, returned home from their service commitment in Qatar in late August. After the unit returned, the Twin Pike Family YMCA received a certificate of appreciation from the Missouri National Guard State Family Program Office on behalf of Miller and his unit. The YMCA was recognized for its efforts to secure the resources for Miller and his family in their time of need.

YMCA Executive Director Marsha Garrison commented that "This area has such a wonderful system of support in place which involves so many organizations and individuals who step forward to help others."

Garrison credits the other organizations that were involved in helping this soldier and his family. "It was a collaborative effort and each of these organizations deserve to share in this recognition."

Garrison says Y staff members Cathy Taylor and Debbie Tophinke really worked hard to access community resources to help the young family.

Twin Pike Family YMCA Member Service Director Cathy Taylor explains, "It was the very least we could do to help this young soldier as he connected with his unit and prepared to deploy and serve our country."