Greeley church raises money for soldier’s equipment in Afghanistan
by Peter Grady –
A Greeley church with a history of helping local police and firefighters has now expanded its ministry by raising money to provide one of its former church members and his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan with personal equipment needed to help protect them in the field.
Faith Bible Baptist Church, located at 320 35th Ave. is an old-fashioned, fundamental, independent Baptist church. The church’s Senior Pastor, Matt Walters takes as strong stand on social issues of the day such as abortion and same-sex marriage. The church is also a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment.
However, if a person thought such a church would be a welcome haven for those who would advocate violence against the government, they would be mistaken. Church members have recently been raising funds to purchase at least nine sets of Wiley X, Hybrid Tactical Gloves for one of their own, who is on his third tour overseas.
Although his name was provided to the Gazette, the church has asked to keep the soldier’s name private to avoid possible repercussions from his command over the suggestion that the troops are not getting the equipment they need for their personal safety.
The solider is a former Greeley resident and church member who joined the church in 1999. In 2003 he joined the Army as a Combat Engineer. He has seen two tours in Iraq and is now currently deployed to Afghanistan with a Stryker unit. As part of his tours he has been subject to multiple IED attacks and has been hit by a rocket propelled grenade. He has received a purple heart and received several commendations for his service doing route clearance with his Stryker unit.
“We are in no way suggesting that our leaders in the Pentagon are deliberately providing our soldiers with inferior equipment,” Associate Pastor Ken Curtis says. “It’s just that government procurement processes often fail to keep up with technological innovations.”
The Hybrid gloves meet military resistance requirements and are flame and abrasion resistant. The gloves are made from goat skin on the inside and feature a Kevlar weave throughout the fingers. The company notes on their website that the gloves are available through the GSA.
One of the features that makes the gloves desirable for soldiers in Afghanistan is the removable knuckle. This feature is helpful for when they need to use their hands in tight spaces where the gloves might be to bulky.
The cost of the gloves on the Wiley X website is $134 a pair, but the church has located a supplier that will sell the gloves to active duty and retired military for $75 a pair which includes free shipping to Afghanistan.
“The problem is the gloves the Pentagon issues are not of the same quality,” Curtis explains. “The government issued gloves wear out after a few months and do not hold up under the rigors of a combat environment, but our church member has had these gloves for three years including two years in combat conditions and they are just now beginning to show signs of wear.”
Curtis says the gloves are so strong a person can hit a brick wall with them and the gloves will sustain no damage. “They are very indestructible. If you are running along and come under fire and drop to the prone position on asphalt or gravel, they will not be torn up.”
The church is attempting to raise the funds for at least nine pairs of gloves for each man in the soldier’s unit. If they are able to raise money for additional gloves they will send the gloves to him to disperse to other soldiers in his command.
Those interested in helping the church purchase the gloves can call Pastor Curtis on his cell phone at (970) 405-3402 or call the church at (970) 383-7635. The mailing address for the church is PO Box 283 Greeley, CO 80632.
Curtis wants to reassure those interested in donating that although the church is collecting the funds, the money will go directly to the person who will be purchasing the gloves who will provide a receipt and bill of lading to the church showing the gloves were purchased and sent.
“If anyone has any concerns, they are always free to contact us and we will show them the proof the money was used properly,” Walters said. “Our church has always had an open book policy when it comes to our expenditures, we believe that is the best insurance against improper use of funds.”
The church has a history of helping Greeley police and firefighters. The church has taken baked goods to local firefighters and last year, the church prepared a home cooked meal consisting of ribs, brisket, hamburgers and hot dog for the entire Greeley Police Department. The event was timely as the day was a particularly busy day for the police with them taking more calls than normal and also having a mjor investigation that took up most of the day.