Post honors culture's rich history
September 22, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 22, 2011) -- Patrons from many different backgrounds enjoyed a day of song, dance and food at the post exchange Sept. 16 during a Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off event.
The annual event featured various foods from many different Hispanic backgrounds prepared by Soldiers, civilians and local restaurants, according to Sgt. 1st Class David Kintz, garrison Equal Opportunity adviser.
"We really want to give Soldiers the opportunity to learn something new about an ethnic group they might not be a part of," he said. "This is also an opportunity for everyone in the community to learn something new."
This is the third Hispanic Heritage Month at Fort Rucker for Kintz, who said one major thing he's learned from the last two is that "everyone loves to eat."
"I learned that Soldiers and civilians love to eat," he said. "Culturally, food is very large and expansive. Everyone can learn something about food. We really hope newcomers will come out and enjoy the other events we have planned throughout the month."
Capt. Roger Garcia, D Co., 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment equal opportunity officer, said the event was also a great way to help the public interact with Hispanic heritage directly.
"I'm demonstrating a couple of different dances that are popular, not just in the Hispanic culture, but all over the world," he said. "When I get volunteers from the audience, it helps them participate directly and might make others want to try it, too."
Garcia first participated in the events of Hispanic Heritage Month last year and said he was surprised to discover a larger community than he originally thought existed at Fort Rucker.
"When I got here a year ago, I had no idea there was such a large Latin community," he said. "I didn't feel like I could go anywhere to dance or experience my own culture. Now, I've realized there's actually a large Latin culture here. A year later, here I am and it's unbelievable how big the community is."
CW4 Cesar Liriano, A Co., 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment small group leader, and his wife, Sara, said the event is not only great for others to learn about Hispanic heritage, but also for other Hispanics to share their cultures with each other.
"I'm Dominican and my wife is Puerto Rican," Liriano said. "We're definitely here to enjoy all of the festivities, but the food is one of the main highlights."
When the Liriano's arrived at the PX, they decided to try some Filipino food first, but Sara said they would also grab some Puerto Rican food before moving on.
She added that this type of event is something positive for the installation and can help people discover new things about their own communities.
"I think people will definitely enjoy being part of this," she said. "It can really open their eyes to new things that are available to them."
Other events taking place during Hispanic Heritage Month include the annual Gate-to-Gate run Oct. 1, an all-ages soccer tournament Oct. 8 and a Hispanic-themed luncheon at both Fort Rucker dining facilities Oct. 12.
For more information, call 255-9878 or contact your equal opportunity representative.