Soldiers paint positive image of Army
September 16, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fifty Soldiers with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment took a break recently from training new Soldiers on proper marksmanship techniques to do some training on proper painting techniques.
The Soldiers recently took on the project of repainting a large map of the United States in the courtyard of Richland I's Caughman Road Elementary School.
The project is the first of many to follow in the developing relationship that the unit has established with the school as part of the Adopt-a-School program. The program's purpose is to raise public awareness about the Army's mission and foster good relations with the local community.
For the Soldiers, it allowed them to make an immediate difference for about 600 elementary school children who pass the mural each day.
"The Soldiers had an awesome time, they had an opportunity to see the military in a different light, how service to their country has a direct impact on their immediate community," said Capt. Nicole Downs, company commander. "If I could give all my Soldiers that opportunity, I would."
Staff Sgt. Lori Cain shared a similar sentiment.
"The Soldiers (enjoyed) it a great deal. It gave them an opportunity to see that the military is more than just going to combat, but it also involves giving back something to the community," said the drill sergeant.
Over the course of the next school year, many projects and activities have been identified for voluntary participation by cadre and Soldiers.
Cadre will visit the school each week to participate in the school's reading program and Lunch Buddy Program, which pairs at-risk children with mentors.
On Friday, the unit's color guard instructed the school's student color guard on the proper care and handling of the U.S. flag. The drill sergeants taught students how to properly fold the flag, how to present the colors and how to properly raise and lower the flag on the school's flagpole.
In addition, the unit will supply guest speakers for events such the school's Veteran's Day presentation in November, Medal of Honor Day presentation in March, and Career Day in April.
Volunteers will also train fifth graders in land navigation during their orienteering field trip to Sesquicentennial Park in November.
Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez, battalion commander, said, "We get a chance to engage with our local community and through events like these provide a reminder to our Soldiers why we serve."