<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>Aca,!"A plaque given to children of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Soldiers by 260th Quartermaster Battalion chain of command reads as follows:

<i>Aca,!A"An Army Brat is a special type of person and an important member of the Army Team. Army Brats do not sign up to be in the Army; they are born into it. They have sacrificed as much for their country as their parents. They know what it means to pick up and make new friends. They know what it means to have their parents miss a school play, a sports event, a recital, a birthday, or a holiday, just because they had to work late, go to the field or deploy somewhere in the world. They know that it is as hard to be an Army Brat as it is to be in the Army. But above all Army Brats understand that their job is very important to the 260th Quartermaster Battalion and to America. They realize that they are the best reasons that their parents give a lot of time to the U.S. Army.Aca,!A?</i>

April, the Month of The Military Child, saw a lot of events showcasing and honoring military children. The military child knows what it feels like for a parent not be there to help with school work or participate in school events and with a lot of unit deployed. Some 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers are trying their best to motivate the children, making sure that they get the help they need with their education as well as physical fitness.

On April 29, Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers members participated in Brittin Elementary School Field Day activities. Staff Sergeant Phillip Phinesee, Sgt. Frank J. Carson, Spc. Frankie Nugent, Spc. Christopher Aker, Spc. Kyle Sparrow and Spc. Michael Bramhall frequent the school as part of an ongoing program where Soldiers volunteer to spend a few hours a week with the students and assist the teachers with whatever they have going on for the day.

The request for mentors at Brittin Elementary School came at a time when the division had so many units deploying said Staff Sgt. Phinisee, BOSS vice president.

"A lot of these kids whose parents are deployed had so many questions, and we were asked to come spend some time with the students and to an extent help in filling the void of the deployed parent," he said. "We originally started with 17 volunteers, but training and deployments reduced our numbers. Hopefully, next year with a lot of Soldiers back from deployment, we will have more volunteers to come into the classrooms and help the kids out, give them more motivation."

Specialist Frankie Nugent, 233rd TC, 87th CSSB, who has being volunteering at the school since January, said he appreciated being given the opportunity to help the students, and he hopes the program is here to stay.

Aca,!A"I will recommend more Soldiers participate in this program,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"There are benefits not just for the kids but also the Soldiers. I would say I get more from this program than the kids themselves. The smile I see on their faces when I walk into the school and the hugs I receive means a lot to me. It tells me my presence here is appreciated.Aca,!A?

Specialist Christopher Aker, 396th TC, another volunteer at Brittin Elementary, who works with pre-kindergarten said, Aca,!A"A lot of these kids have deployed parents and seeing a Soldier in their class and having an opportunity to ask questions makes them feel at ease. I work with them on their reading skills, arts and crafts; itAca,!a,,cs been outstanding for me. It is another thing in my military career that I can actually look in the mirror and be proud of who I see.Aca,!A?

Joanna Swinford, a kindergarten teacher who has been with the Fort Stewart school system for 23 years, affirmed the effect the presence of these Soldiers have on her class in particular and the school in general.

Aca,!A"They have been a big asset to the teachers in helping with smaller groups of students who may need individualized instruction,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"They also serve as role models for students, especially those with deployed parents.Aca,!A?

When asked if she has any suggestion as to how the BOSS program can make the mentoring program better, she said, Aca,!A"More Soldiers! I want to see them here every day, even if for a few hours.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16