Wiesbaden BOSS serves as Soldier's advocate
November 24, 2008
By Karl Weisel
WIESBADEN, Germany - Head to almost any event in the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden community and you will often see a group of young Soldiers reaching out to fellow servicemembers.
Indeed, members of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, a feature of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation services, share a common bond: a desire to share good times, to improve the quality of life for fellow Soldiers and to assist their community.
"We believe strongly in supporting the community," said Stevan Eclavea, the garrison's BOSS adviser. "We are here to do anything we can to support the community."
Besides offering single Soldiers a way to save money, while enjoying such activities as Outdoor Recreation adventures, trips and other events, BOSS also serves as a powerful advocate for issues impacting troops.
"When I got to Wiesbaden, Soldiers weren't really aware of what BOSS is and what it does," said Eclavea, who formerly ran the BOSS program in Dexheim.
Through various community support events - such as the Berlin Airlift commemoration, BOSS against drunk driving endeavors and participation in the recent Hispanic Heritage Month Boxing Tournament - program members have spread the word.
"When I first arrived here I didn't know anyone on post," said Spc. Kelsey Reed, Company C, 1st Military Intelligence Battalion, who heard about the program through a unit Soldier who had served as a vice president on the BOSS Council.
"Through BOSS you meet a lot of great people; you really learn a lot about the program," Reed said.
Strong interest by garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Prince - and that by fellow senior noncommissioned officers in every Wiesbaden unit - has helped the program thrive, said Eclavea.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Prince is a great asset," Eclavea noted. "He really supports and promotes the BOSS program. He goes above and beyond. ... I would like to thank all the sergeants major for supporting the BOSS program. Without them it wouldn't get done."
Reed pointed out that Prince attends most BOSS Council meetings. "He listens," she said.
As for the Soldiers themselves'
"Get involved and have fun," advised Reed. "Almost every unit has a representative. There are (many) events; get to know what's going on out there."
"It's a good organization to have," said Pfc. Jessica Tovar, Company B, 1st MI Battalion. "They really welcome you."
"I like a lot of different things about BOSS," said Spc. Roshanda White, 212th Military Police Company. "It gives me something to do, it's interesting and I meet new people.
"You also learn a lot of things about your host country. I started learning the language a little through BOSS."
BOSS members also have a place to call their own. The BOSS lounge - which has been improved with Army Family Covenant funds - features a pool table, darts, big screen televisions and computer access. Plus members can work on their college course work at the building, which will soon have wireless Internet service available, thanks to Covenant support.
"We're here to mentor (the Soldiers), help keep (them) on track and at the same time have a good time," said Eclavea, adding that integrating Soldiers into their community while looking after their interests is a vital part of BOSS.