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We are not just here hauling gear 
 
Clay is our Hero 
Members of the 1166th Combat Heavy Equipment Transport Company, Massachusetts National Guard, hold up letters spelling out “Clay is Our Hero” to show support for Clay Ray-Cook, an 8-year-old boy currently fighting leukemia. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Allison M. Turner, Platoon Leader, 1166th Combat Heavy Equipment Transport Company)
By 2nd Lt. Allison M. Turner, Platoon Leader, 1166th Combat Heavy Equipment Transport Company 

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait
- The main effort of the 1166th Combat Heavy Equipment Transport Company, 164th Transportation Battalion, Massachusetts National Guard, is the withdrawal of equipment from Iraq and to support the war in Afghanistan. You must know that this is not all we do. The 1166th CHC is part of 164th Transportation Battalion, Massachusetts National Guard. Our Soldiers come from many different backgrounds and have a variety of talents that they bring together to create an extraordinary company of Soldiers.

Our Soldiers are grateful for the overwhelming and continuous support that our hometown communities have shown us. To demonstrate our gratitude, many of our Soldiers have shown their support by helping an 8-year-old boy named Clay Ray-Cook. Clay’s story is one that touched our Soldier’s hearts. Clay, son of Christine Ray-Cook and Clay Cook, is a close family friend of one of our Soldiers, Staff Sgt. Jessica Biggins.

After four weeks of what his doctor’s thought was bronchitis, Clay was diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and the cause of it is unknown. When Clay first found out he had Leukemia he wrote in one of his blog entries, “The doctors said I needed some new blood because mine was not doing its job anymore”.

The 1166th brought a group of our soldiers together for a company picture and held up letters that spelled out “Clay is Our Hero.” Clay was shown this picture one morning before surgery and it simply brightened his day. When the Soldiers heard how Clay enjoyed the picture so much, we felt it wasn’t enough and we wanted to do more. Although support and love from family and friends is always a tremendous help during such hard times, it often isn’t enough. As many people know, medical treatment for cancer can be very costly. As a result, many of our Soldiers have made generous donations to a fund set up in Clay’s name. This fund is used to assist in paying for his extensive medical treatments. Through this, Soldiers feel the satisfaction of giving back to the community.

Our mission focus isn’t only on the successful withdrawal of equipment and support of the war, we also strive to give back to the communities that we live to protect.

If you would like to get involved and give your support to Clay and his family, feel free to e-mail Staff Sgt. Jessica Biggins at JessB1058@yahoo.com for more information.

7/23/2010