By Jeff Crawley, Fort SillApril 25, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (April 25, 2013) -- Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery Warrant Officer Advanced Course volunteered at the Hershey's Track and Field Games for their class community project April 20, in Lawton.
The 16 students served in a variety of roles during the meet, and as a class donated more than $350 for medals and T-shirts for the children.
"This is a great project being able to interact with the families and give back something to the kids," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chad Henderson, 1st Battalion, 17th FA Alabama Army National Guard. "It's also a great opportunity to help out the city of Lawton."
When WOAC class No. 02-13 was looking to do a community project, CW3 Greg Koyle, project officer, contacted city officials to see if there were any recreational activities going on that they could assist with. The Hershey's meet for boys and girls ages 7-14 was happening just when the Soldiers were looking for a project.
"It was just a perfect situation because we had this event coming up," said Essence Perry, Lawton Recreational Services Division activities coordinator.
The Soldiers' community project helped the city tremendously, she said. Their volunteering made the management of the all-day event much easier.
Soldiers worked as timekeepers, gate officials and refreshment servers for the athletes, said Koyle, whose permanent unit is the 65th Fires Brigade, Utah National Guard. When they weren't working they were cheering on the youngsters.
Volunteering with children was nothing new for CW3 Luis Martinez, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He said he coaches youth flag football and basketball in Alaska.
"Children are our future, so it's always nice to help them," he said.
Henderson said it was good interacting with his fellow warrants for a community project.
"It lets us all come together and work as a group and with the public, outside the uniform, so it doesn't feel like a class environment," said Henderson, who works as a system operator with Power South Energy Cooperative in his civilian job in Andalusia, Ala.
CW3 Sam Snyder, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Korea, served as a timekeeper during the track meet. He said the community project was built into the course curriculum, and that he participated in a similar project when he was a student in the WO Basic Course here in 2007.
"We should continue doing projects like this," he said, "It's good for the kids, the community and the Army."