Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Bivens, Lt. Col. Nathan Goubeaux, Principal Karen Cooksey, Staff Sgt. Eslyn Chambers, Staff Sgt. Antonio Esparza and 1st Sgt. Leigh Conic hold uniforms donated by Soldiers assigned to the 100th Brigade Support Battalion Aug. 13, 2013, at Pat Henry Elementary School in Lawton. The school year is the first time students adhered to a modified dress code.

FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 29, 2013) -- Tis' the season for giving and Soldiers from 100th Brigade Support Battalion, and 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery donated clothes to students returning to school. They also volunteered to help renovate a local elementary school last week in Lawton.

Each battalion assigned to the 75th "Tough As Diamonds" Fires Brigade has adopted a local school, or organization, as part of the unit's community outreach program.

"It's a great feeling, the community is supportive of the military and it's great to be able to provide support back to the community," said Lt. Col. Nathan

Goubeaux, 100th BSB commander, whose unit donated 78 uniforms to Pat Henry Elementary School.

This year marked the first time the school enforced a modified dress code and required students to wear a standardized uniform.

In addition to purchasing school supplies and clothing items, parents of children headed to school faced an additional financial challenges because of the policy change.

"It's an expensive time for families," said Karen Cooksey, principal, Pat Henry Elementary.

She said parents who were previously able to pass down clothes from one sibling to the other were not able to rely on that system this year.

The 3-13th FA also made an impact on the Fort Sill and Lawton community as its Soldiers helped renovate Wilson Elementary.

During the summer break, Jennifer Foster, Wilson Elementary School principal, said the faculty agreed the school needed to "get rid of the red paint," which covered walls, doors and cabinets throughout the school.

"There's literally not a piece of wood in this school that the Soldiers did not touch," said Foster.

The "Red Dragons" Battalion did not stop there as its Soldiers did other projects such as converting a storage room into a classroom, which the school now plans to use to teach learning disabled students.

The Soldiers work was not limited to the inside of the school; they also painted the marquee board, school sign and the concrete walkway at the main entrance on the outside of the school.

Foster said one Soldier, Spc. Venancio Garcia, 3-13th FA Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, showed an overwhelming amount of commitment to the project, going the extra mile and even "worked on his days off."

She said when she found out he was putting in the extra time to help fix the school, with the help of an occasional friend, she politely asked him to "go home."

According to Foster, Garcia declined her offer and said, "I want to take care of it (the project) and ensure it is done right."

"I nearly cried," said an emotional Foster. "I have never seen someone work so hard with nothing to gain from it."

The "Tough As Diamonds" Brigade plans to continue its support of the Fort Sill and Lawton community as part of its responsibility to give back to the community.

Page last updated Thu August 29th, 2013 at 11:57