A former member of the U.S. Army National Guard has started a drive to collect coats to help win the war in Afghanistan.
Shawn Mingus has started an effort to send winter coats to the people of Afghanistan. Jackets are in high demand in the mountainous regions of the country. He says he hopes this act of kindness will be a bridge to the heart of the Afghan people.
Mingus and several friends created the non-profit organization known as Rapport Afghanistan and have used social networking websites like Facebook to get the word out about the project.
"It gives the soldiers an opportunity to make a connection with the people there locally and hopefully build some goodwill, so they support them rather than the Taliban," Mingus said.
"Where they may not have been so anxious to come forward with information - perhaps about insurgents or something bad happening in that area - these types of projects really build that relationship," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kevin Olson. "When you've got a village wearing coats from America, it's another way to show they're on our side."
Mingus has expanded his goal for this year to collect 50,000 coats. He already has collected 2,000 coats. The coats will be sent to U.S. military members from the 34th Red Bull Division as they deploy to Afghanistan on the brink of the country's winter season.