Harlem's annual Christmas parade Dec. 8 included entries sponsored by churches, business and civic groups.
Among those entries, members of the Georgia National Guard 278th Military Police Company marched alongside armored Humvees.
The unit, which was formed less than two years ago, was officially adopted that day by the city of Harlem.
"The National Guard is not about the United States. It is not about governments," said Lt. Abraham Stone, of the 278th, at ceremony at City Hall. "It is about communities and people coming together, helping each other out, volunteerism. ... The company has only been around for two years. We are without a home. I thank you for adopting us and thank you for having us in your parade today."
Unit member Sgt. Bobby Cash, who also is a Harlem Department of Public Safety officer, asked city officials at a Nov. 16 meeting to consider adopting the unit stationed at Fort Gordon and become the hub for its Family Readiness Group.
Cash said he and his wife are from Harlem and have the support of family, friends and the community. He said he wants the other members of the 278th to have that kind of support through a Family Readiness Group that supports troops in most other deployed military units.
"Every military unit needs a city to stand behind," Cash said.
Unit members hail from Atlanta, Macon and Valdosta.
"Because the families are so spread out, it is hard for the families to be a part of that," Cash said. "So they are not going to know what's really going on. So we need all the resources we can get, volunteer support being the main thing."
Cash said the unit is scheduled to train in Fort Dix, N.J., in January before deployment to Iraq in April.
Volunteers would be helpful with administrative tasks, getting information to unit members' families and putting together care packages.
Unit members gathered on the lawn of city hall to watch unit and city officials sign a certificate signifying Harlem's adoption of the unit.
"We most especially want to thank you for your service to us, for the freedoms that we are given," Mayor Scott Dean told the troops. "It is our privilege to have y'all and it is our privilege to adopt this military police company. We just want to say on behalf of the council and the city of Harlem, thank you for all your service." For more information or to get involved in the 278th Military Police Company's Family Readiness Group, call Cash at (706) 495-0900.
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