J.C. Fischer (right), curator of Hall of Heroes, shows Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson, III Corps and Fort Hood's deputy commanding general (Canada), his display of military medals at the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum's Military Appreciation and Family Fun Day May 16, in Temple, Texas.

TEMPLE, Texas - The torrential downpour didn't stop Temple resident, Steven Castro and his 14-year-old son Jacob from attending Temple's Railroad and Heritage Museum's Military Appreciation and Family Fun Day May 16, in Temple, Texas.

Although the museum holds its family fun day every third Saturday of the month, it's only been the second year they've honored Fort Hood Soldiers and family members at their museum and depot station with a tour of their museum and activities for children.

"We try to give the [Temple] community a little taste of the military," said Jeremy Krauss, the museum's events coordinator. "A lot of people don't know what the military does; they do a lot of good things for us."

Fort Hood and Texas National Guard units brought out military vehicles, the 1st Cavalry Division Museum's director, Steven Draper and exhibit specialist, Jack Dugan, brought out their traveling static display and an old Army Jeep, there was an arts and crafts area for the children, and a military medals display inside the depot station built in 1911.

Lt. Col. Robert L. Menti, the commander of Headquarters Battalion, III Corps, said it was a "win, win" for both Fort Hood and Temple communities by coming out to Temple and participating in its community events.

"Not only is it good for the people here who don't see Soldiers every day, but it's good for our Soldiers to learn about the rich cultural history in Central Texas as well," Menti said.

When Camp Hood was established in 1942 for the World War II buildup, it not only saw the vast real estate throughout Bell and Coryell counties as an asset to its tank destroyer school but also the railroad that ran through the reservation.

Strauss said it was the same railroad system that took Soldiers and equipment throughout Central Texas to and from World War II to the Vietnam War. Although it doesn't take deploy Soldiers anymore, it still transports heavy, military equipment, such as tanks and other vehicles to different sea ports.

For Castro, trips to Fort Hood are a treat for him and Jacob, who will start his freshman year at Temple High School.

"We appreciate our men and women who defend this country," said Castro. "Anything military, [Jacob] wants to check out."

Jacob, who showed up to the museum wearing an old Army field jacket said visits to Fort Hood and its museums and vehicle displays have peeked his interest in the military and he plans on entering his high school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps next year.

For more information about Temple's Railroad and Heritage Museum, contact Jeremy Krauss at (254) 298-5165 or email at jeremy.rrhm@sbcglobal.net or visit their website at www.rrhm.org.

Page last updated Wed May 20th, 2009 at 21:52