Rockford helps Marines in Iraq

Rockford College athletic department recently kicked in a contribution to the goodwill efforts of U.S. Marines stationed in Iraq … literally.

Behind the efforts of RC alumnus Dan Jaworowski (’85), the Regents made available a dozen soccer balls to be given to Iraqi children to help promote friendship and trust with the U.S. forces.

“When Dan approached me about the idea, I jumped at the opportunity to help,” said Rockford College athletic director Kristyn King. “It was such a minimal request, but had the possibility of such tremendous results for our troops. We were glad to have been able to give something to show support for our forces stationed in Iraq.”

Jaworowski got the idea from a Wall Street Journal article describing how the Marines used soccer balls to try to bond with the Iraqi civilians during their patrols. The article described how a particular Marine unit’s attempts to pass out oral hygiene products and powdered milk was met with disinterest by villagers until they tossed out soccer balls. Passing out soccer balls has proved to be the most popular U.S. public relations program, according to the WSJ article.

For his part, Jaworowski compared his efforts to support the U.S. military to the volunteer work he performed as a Rockford College student who focused on civic beautification projects (an annual RC ritual still in effect today). Some of those projects involved remodeling homes or cleaning up neighborhoods.

“Care and support becomes a tangible gesture of commitment to our fellow Americans,” said Jaworowski. “In both cases, actions speak louder than words. It’s the American spirit!”

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