Fort Rucker to celebrate Hispanic heritage
Marta Vere, dance instructor at the Commons, dances with her partner, Juan Nieves, during last year's Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event at the post exchange. This year's celebration will be Sept. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 5, 2013) -- Diversity is a large part of not only the U.S. armed forces, but of the nation as well, and Fort Rucker is celebrating that diversity with a kickoff event that promises education with entertainment.

The Fort Rucker Equal Opportunity Office along with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will host the Hispanic Heritage kickoff event Sept. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the post exchange.

This year's theme is "Hispanics: Serving and Leading our Nation with Pride and Honor," and seeks to remind people that Soldiers are brothers in arms no matter their background or heritage, said Master Sgt. Thomas Reid, chief equal opportunity adviser.

"Our Army is made up of not just citizens of the United States, which itself is a melting pot, but of people around the world from different nations," he said. "By understanding the diverse nature of our Army and understanding the different heritages that are in our Army, you can understand the Soldier that is next to you to your left or right, and most of the time you find out that you are more alike than different."

The event will consist of Latin Jazz music performed by the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band; a food sampling area with a variety of ethnic foods provided by local volunteers; cultural displays and vendors that people can visit and even purchase items from; and traditional and contemporary dancing for people to experience, said Susie Antonello, AAFES visual merchandising manager.

"The food sampling is sure to delight attendees and have their taste buds dancing with a variety of foods from Panama, Mexico and Puerto Rico, just to name a few," she said.

Their taste buds won't be the only things dancing, however. Fort Rucker's fitness facilities' Zumba instructors will be conducting their classes during the event as well.

Reid said that although it's important for people to have a good time at the kickoff event, it's more important that they take something away from it.

"It's about breaking barriers and respecting one another," he said. "If I grew up in (a different part of the country), I may not have been exposed to (different cultures), so by exposing people to something like this, they learn that their battle buddy is the same as them -- they just grew up differently."

Although the kickoff even is Sept. 13, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

"A lot of people ask why it's celebrated in the middle of the month," said Reid, "and it's because a lot of Central American countries declared their independence on Sept. 15 and many other countries soon followed suit."

Following the kickoff event, Fort Rucker will host other events to celebrate what Hispanics have contributed to the U.S.

Sept. 28, the Fort Rucker EOO will host the Fun-4-All bowling tournament at the Fort Rucker Bowling Center beginning at 1 p.m.

The tournament will be open to the public and will be a no-tap tournament, which means that knocking down nine pins equals a strike. Cost for the tournament is $3 and people are encouraged to arrive at least 10 minutes early to sign up.

Prizes will be given away for first, second and third place, and there will also be trivia on Hispanic Heritage with prizes given to those who answer correctly.

There will also be an opportunity for people to put on their boogie shoes and dance the night away during Salsa Night at Divots Bar and Grill Oct. 11.

The event will go from 8-11:30 p.m., and is open to the public for ages 18 and older. Dance instructors will be on hand at the event to teach people how to Latin dance properly, said Reid.

For more information, call 255-2363.

Page last updated Thu September 5th, 2013 at 14:38