JACKSON, Tenn. – Nov. 29, 2004– Dog tags are becoming a common sight on Union University’s campus. No, it’s not a new fad, nor has the school changed into a military facility.
Instead they are just a small part of a campaign to touch the lives of those across the world serving their country.
Every semester the Beta Tau chapter of Alpha Tau Omega makes a point of doing a service project of great proportions. Up until this year the fraternity’s fall semester project would be to organize a massive shoe box drive for Operation Christmas Child.
The giving in Jackson became so great, however, that a second West Tennessee operations hub was created in Jackson and now works out of West Jackson Baptist Church. That left the ATO chapter without a project.
“We needed to find a social service project,” said senior Derek Jones, who is in charge of social services for ATO during the fall of 2004. “I thought it would be neat to do something with the military, so I started searching online for any way I could be involved with the military. I just came across the Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministries site and thought that would be a good way for our campus to be involved, because it would be an inexpensive way to help the military.”
The Military Ministry is an arm of Campus Crusade for Christ that specifically works with military troops both at home and abroad. On a national level the program has three areas of focus including gateways, campuses and operational locations and families. On an international scale the ministry reaches out to the 19 million active-duty troops and their estimated 47 million dependants. Beyond reaching these with the message of Christ, the ministry equips them in turn to reach others.
One of the main spiritual resources provided by the Military Ministry is the Rapid Deployment Kit. The RDK includes a camouflage pocket-sized New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, a daily devotional booklet and the evangelistic pamphlet “Would You Like to Know God Personally?” This is where the men of ATO come in.
“We contacted them through their website and when we told them what we wanted to do the lady was just like, ‘You want to do what for us?’” Jones said. “They were floored by what we wanted to do and that we wanted to help them out. They’ve put a lot into this.”
Starting with a table in front of Campus Ministries in Union University’s Student Union Building, the ATOs hope to collect enough money to send 584 RDKs, two for every dorm on Union’s campus, or $1,370. They are also collecting notes written from students to soldiers that will be placed in each RDK and are giving away water bottles and dog tags that will help students to remember those fighting.
The ATO chapter is accepting donations until Dec. 5. For more information on the project, contact Jones at (731) 298-1457. Donations may be sent to Alpha Tau Omega, Box 2323, 1050 Union University Dr., Jackson, TN 38305.
Alaina Kraus ('05)