Fort Drum community celebrates Safety Day
May 31, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The thunderous sound of more than 300 motorcycles followed by the roar of a formation made up of thousands of Soldiers from across the installation filled the morning air Thursday as the 17th annual Safety Day kicked off with a four-mile motorcycle ride and run around Fort Drum.
Beginning the run as soon as the cannon boomed at Hays Hall, Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, led what may be the largest run in the unit's history through the streets on post. Along the route, units set up displays to promote safety.
"It was a good run," said Pfc. Payden Fultz, a forward observer with 2nd Battalion, 15th Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "It was the most motivating run I've ever been a part of."
For the remainder of the day, Soldiers and civilians walked around Magrath Gym to view health- and safety-related exhibits displayed by more than 30 post and civilian organizations.
One of the most popular stops was the recycling booth put on by Fort Drum Public Works, where Heather Wagner, an environmental educator, talked to Soldiers about current and future recycling programs around post.
"Recycling is a big safety message to get out," Wagner said. "Safety Day is crucial for getting our message out because we see more Soldiers on Safety Day (than at any other time)."
Many people also crowded around the wildlife booth for a chance to hold a snake brought in by Fred Ossman, a herpetologist with Fort Drum Natural Resources.
"We have live specimens here, so it gives the troops something to see and touch," Ossman said.
"We want to pacify their fear, because a lot of people think we have poisonous snakes on Fort Drum, but we do not," he said. "We have eight species of snakes that are all fairly harmless and unaggressive."
Ossman said his office works year round to inform the community about activities such as fishing, bird watching and even raspberry picking. The booth was not only aimed at educating Soldiers, but their Families as well.
Ossman said children should be informed about wildlife on post so they know what they may expect while playing in the yard.
Soldiers and civilians left the Safety Day Fair with bags full of goodies as well as a wealth of knowledge of ways to remain safe on and off duty.
"We take all of this for granted, so it's nice to be able to come here and have something that reminds us why we need to be safe and how to be safe," Fultz said.