Bliss MPs stake claim at local school
October 27, 2011
EL PASO, Texas, Oct. 27, 2011 -- The 93rd Military Police Battalion unveiled the sign with their unit ensignia now staked into the ground at Travis Elementary School in central El Paso. The sign dedication ceremony was held at the school Oct. 19.
"The sign is a visual sign of the battalion's partnership with Travis [Elementary]," said Lt. Col. Vernon Lightner, battalion commander.
Connecting with the surrounding community through support in education is one of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Commanding General Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard's intents for the installation.
The Partners in Education program has been active at Fort Bliss for more than 22 years. The goal is to integrate Soldiers into the community by supporting schools and private sector programs. Through the program, Soldiers become tangible assets providing mentorship, guidance and tutoring services, planning and sponsoring events, and teaching leadership skills.
The battalion and the school have been partners in education for more than three years and Lightner said he wanted to "make it official. This is a relationship that started a few years ago, and we hope to ensure it stays and thrives as long as there is a Travis Elementary and a 93rd MP Battalion."
During the ceremony, four students were selected to share thoughts about the military and the Partners In Education program. One mentioned the war and how sad it is when Soldiers do not return to their families, "because they died in the fight." Another talked about how some Soldiers are not able to make it to their child's sporting events because of working long days and weekends. The children said they appreciate the MPs for standing in the gap when their parents are not available.
Lightner recognized that this partnership is not only about what the Soldiers do for the children, but how volunteering with the children affects the Soldiers as well.
"You do so much for us," said Lightner. "When a Soldier … comes to Travis, the Soldier brings certain characteristics to share with the children. Physical fitness, integrity, courage -- all these values are in the hearts of these children. What our Soldiers do is provide a way to let the children realize that these values are within them too.
"The classrooms provide our Soldiers with tangible results in the form of smiling faces," continued Lightner. "Students enrich the lives of Soldiers."
The principal expressed her gratitude and confidence in the 93rd MPs by incorporating them in everything they do. She and her staff gladly welcomed the sign with the continued partnership.
"It is with great pleasure that Travis has formed a united partnership with the 93rd MP Battalion," said Sonia Teran, school principal. "There isn't one event, program, function or celebration that our school plans without our partners.
"Our students benefit from your presence daily," said Teran.