Christmas at AIT

Posted in: Stories

Every year during the Christmas season, the Cru Military® team ministers to Soldiers at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia, who need the joy of Christmas more than most.

Each Christmas the team works with Advanced Individual Training (AIT) privates at Fort Eustis – men and women who are learning to be helicopter mechanics. And for most of these Soldiers, Christmas is a happy time as they leave Fort Eustis for two weeks to go home on Holiday Block Leave. 

Not Going Home

But some Soldiers choose to not go home, and some of the reasons are heart-breaking. Some are “outprocessing” the unit because they have failed their training. Others do not have enough leave built up which would enable them to go home. Most, however, have horrific family situations, or they do not have a family to go home to. For these Soldiers, this can be a very sad time. 

For the past six years, the Cru Military team of Hampton Roads has been going above and beyond the call of duty to make Christmas a little better for the AIT Soldiers who stay at the base.

Giving soldiers presents

This year, Crossroads Community Church of Yorktown partnered with Cru Military to deliver Christmas dinner and presents to the 47 Privates who were in need of love and cheer. For dinner, each private had a home-cooked meal of turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, an assortment of pies, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Additionally, Each Soldier received two wrapped presents, a box of food and snacks, and a $25 Amazon gift card. 

“It has been a real pleasure to do this for the AIT privates,” said Aaron West, pastor of Crossroads. “This is the second year we have done this for the privates. The church here at Crossroads is amazing. They really came through in providing all of the gifts, gift cards, and snack boxes. At Crossroads, we like to be known for what we are “for,” and we are ‘for’ the military in Hampton Roads.”

Aaron Titko, the Cru Military Director of the Hampton Roads area, coordinated the project and led the team of 33 volunteers who spent their Christmas day to show God’s love to the Soldiers.

Showing God’s Love

“They not only delivered the presents to the privates, but also served them dinner, and had the opportunity to fellowship with them,” Aaron said. “We worked alongside the Battalion Chaplain and helped connect their needs with the volunteer power of the community and church. This is a great way that we can just help love on these Privates and show them God’s love in a real and practical way.” 

In addition to the AIT privates, the team was able to deliver Christmas dinner and gifts to the Barracks Guards, those manning the Charge of Quarters desk at the battalion, and the Fort Eustis Gate Guards. 

The Hampton Roads Cru Military team has been working with local churches and the AIT Chaplains, serving the AIT Privates Christmas Dinner for the last six years, and will continue to do so in the years to come.