Hood Howdy beneficial to Soldier, Family newcomers
February 25, 2013
Fort Hood, the home of III Corps and the 1st Cavalry Division, is one of the largest U.S. military installations in the world. Many Soldiers and their Family members can spend months to years on the base without ever knowing all the post and surrounding communities offer.
More than 70 agencies and 45 local businesses came together Feb. 7, during Hood Howdy, to welcome newcomers and to inform them what the Great Place has to offer.
"Fort Hood is a big place and People can like they're just a number," said Shirley Quick the Fort Hood Army Community Service relocation manager. "For over, 15 years jointly with the [Morale, Welfare, and Recreation] program we have hosted the biannual Hood Howdy, so Soldiers and Family members can find out all there is to offer in the area all under one roof."
A job fair was also part of the event to help Family members find jobs in the community and provide a way to help Soldiers leaving the Army begin new career searches, Quick added.
Local schools, The Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Fort Hood Housing, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Chaplains Program, and the Commissary are just a few of the agencies that participated.
In her personal experience, Shelly Damo, Fort Hood DFMWR sponsorship, advertising and commercial sales manager, said the Hood Howdy can make a big difference in a spouses experience at Fort Hood.
"A lot of the new mothers I've met and personal friends of mine have come here and they've learned about childcare facilities and places to take their children to such as the dentist and also places for fun and recreational activities," Damo said. "I'm happy and proud to give back to our community, especially to the newcomers, because I know what it's like to be new in the area and not really know what's going on.
"It's really good to give that information out as well as know the outside community is willing to support through their sponsorship. Without them we couldn't have made this event as big as a success as we have without them."
Sgt. Jason Luong and his Family just moved to Fort Hood from Fort Riley, Kan., and he was impressed with the Hood Howdy event.
"I just got a personalized instruction on one of the combative style self defense courses; that was pretty awesome. I wasn't expecting that," said Luong, a broadcast journalist with III Corps Public Affairs. "When I came into this, I didn't realize there was going to be so many different booths and people."
Luong said one of the main reasons he went to the event was to find out about the DFMWR factors and surrounding communities for his Family since they're used to smaller bases.
"I want to do much more outside of just post and be able to take full advantage of what Fort Hood and the surrounding communities offer," Luong said. "I found out Hood Howdy is only held twice a year -- once in February and once in August -- so far what I've seen of it is outstanding. I would highly recommend it to all Soldiers their Family Members and would hope it and becomes a more-than-twice-a-year event."
As military funding continues to take a cut, Damo wants the Fort Hood Community to know Hood Howdy will continue biannually into the future.
"For sponsorship of this event we go to outside organizations and business in the surrounding communities where we get sponsorship dollars, which help to offset the Army's cost to put on Hood Howdy," Damo said. "They also help by donating things such as food, prizes and entertainment."