CECILIA, Ky. - Third Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers joined up with local police and firefighters to participate in Howevalley Elementary School's Read-A-Thon, April 24. Soldiers read to small groups of two to six students in some cases, while at other times they read to entire classrooms.

"Basically, the students collected donations," said first grade teacher Carla Scott. "It kind of works like 'Jump Rope For Heart', but instead of jumping rope, we decided to read. They collected donations from sponsors for each book they read during their hour-and-a-half today."

Laughing, she added, "Basically, we just need money for school supplies."

While the trip out to Howevalley Elementary was meant to benefit the students, the Soldiers also enjoyed interacting with the children.

"I like to answer their questions. You never know what they are going to ask, and their questions are sort of a window into how they see us," said 3rd ESC Plans and Operations Officer, Capt. Joel Howard. "It's been a while since we were kids, so hearing what they have to say can be a real eye-opener."

Howard said 3rd ESC emphasizes community outreach opportunities, and values its relationship with the cities, towns and local schools in the greater Fort Knox area.

"The good thing is, Howevalley is just far enough out from Fort Knox and the military community that a lot of the kids aren't used to us," said 3rd ESC G1 Human Resources Tech, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Walter Keen.

"For some of them, we could be the first Soldiers they've seen up close in uniform. We're broadening their young minds, and their horizons, showing them that it's a much bigger world than they thought."

"We like to have professionals from the local community come in, to get students thinking in terms of future careers," said Scott. "This helps to show them why they need to study, and read, and work hard."