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Oklahoma National Guardsmen Get Boost From Transport Workers Union

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National Guardsmen get a rucksack - and a hug - from a representative of the Transport Workers Union. National Guardsmen get a rucksack - and a hug - from a representative of the Transport Workers Union.
Thirty-two of the rucksacks were handed out Saturday. Thirty-two of the rucksacks were handed out Saturday.

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Union workers gave a much-needed gift to some Oklahoma National Guardsmen on Saturday. The Transport Workers Union presented 32 soldiers with a rucksack for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan for a year and a half deployment.

"I think that they are an invaluable tool for us in our mission. We'll be doing a lot of movements on foot and this will help consolidate our gear," said Staff Sgt. Bucky Hopwood.

The TWU raised money all year to be able to buy the bags for the Oklahoma National Guard Scout Sniper unit. The rucksacks weigh less and are more streamlined than Army issued ones

"We support you in every way, shape and form because you fight for our freedom," said Hank Trujillo, TWU representative, to the soldiers.

Sgt. Ryan Hager told some buddies who are part of the union that his soldiers needed top-of-the-line gear. The union turned the idea into reality.

"It's amazing the amount of work that everybody here put forward for not only my unit, but other units that will benefit," said Sgt. Hager.

"Life here is easy. Sometimes we take things for granted and a simple thing like a rucksack can make a big improvement in somebody's life," said Jose Galarza with TWU.

With a long deployment around the corner, these soldiers say support on the home front goes far.

"I think it's great to see the amount of support the individual soldiers get just on a daily basis. We go out to a restaurant and someone picks up your tab, or you come to something like this. It's great to see the support for the soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Hopwood.

The ceremony took place at the TWU Hall at 11945 E. Pine in Tulsa.

The union workers donated so much money, they actually ended up with more than they needed. Now, they plan to buy more of these bags and outfit another unit.

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