By 2nd Lt. Hailey BertinFebruary 8, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla., Feb. 8, 2018 -- Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) students from Class No. 8-17 furthered the 428th Field Artillery Brigade's community outreach efforts Feb. 3, when about 80 student-officers teamed up with Girl Scouts from Troop 3037 to clean up a historic trail that bisects a small portion of wilderness in the heart of Fort Sill.
Martha Songbird Trail is kitty-corner from Honeycutt Fitness Center on the north side of Randolph Road, and west of Butner Field where a lot of Soldiers work through their morning ritual of physical training.
Anne McRory, Girl Scouts troop leader, said there's 12 girls in her troop with about eight who are regulars at troop functions. As waves of the young officers stopped in to work, the girls stayed the entire five hours working on the community service project.
Two mothers of Girl Scouts -- Jean Anders and Emily Copeland -- along with Owen Scott, a brother of one of the scouts, also helped in the cleanup.
McRory wanted to recognize the efforts of her three co-leaders, Callie Johnson, Andrea Wells, and Karen Robinson, who really make a difference with their scouting functions.
"Karen put in a lot of hours getting this all set up," said McRory.
The trail is perfect for anyone to walk through, enjoy the nature, and take in the quiet and peace through the densely wooded parcel of land. It's also a favorite place of refuge for white-tailed deer that live on post.
The Martha Songbird Trail is named after Martha, the last known passenger pigeon who died at the Cincinnati Zoo, Sept. 1, 1914. The trail is 0.8 miles long, and you can bring your furry friend along as long as Fido or Kitty is kept on a leash.
Having walked through the park before the cleanup, McRory said she thought there was only one trail. "It's a lot more than I ever knew was there.
BOLC Class 8-17 graduates Feb. 21, and set the trail cleanup as their activity to give back to the community before they move on with their careers as young officers.
"There's trash and trees along the Martha Songbird Trail, and we thought we'd give back to Fort Sill and make it look nice," said 2nd Lt. Alessandro Chiodo.
The Girl Scouts and BOLC students planned out the event well, as this time of the year makes it pretty easy to pick up downed tree branches and other loose litter.
"As BOLC students, cleaning up the Martha Songbird Trail means that we're not just here to get an education and then leave to continue our careers as field artillery officers. It is essential to give back especially as officers who are supposed to be these well-rounded individuals in the community and their professional environment. Officers need to show that they care about their communities that they are part of, and it means something to them," said 2nd Lt. True Merritt.
While the second lieutenants donated their time and muscle perhaps as an opening salvo of community service in their military careers, McRory said the scouts turned out to earn their Take Action badges.
"Because we all live and work on Fort Sill, I believe, we were all happy to go out and do this service project," she said.