By Karl Weisel (Wiesbaden Family and MWR)November 7, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany - "Being a part of a program that benefits single Soldiers is awesome."
That's how Sgt. Helen Buford, vice president of Wiesbaden's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, described her involvement with the single service member outreach program. "It really opens your eyes to the different things you can do."
Buford, who has been active with Wiesbaden BOSS for a year and a half, said thanks to BOSS, she has been traveling "since the first week I got here."
A member of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Buford said she learned about the program through her unit and especially enjoys the chance to help out in her local community.
"For me it's the passion of being able to do something for the community," she said, adding that among the highlights of her time with BOSS was participating in a toy drive last year to bring a little joy to host nation children combating cancer at the Mainz Cancer Clinic.
"Anytime we get an opportunity to work with the German community, it's a benefit for us. It's always a great experience," Buford said, "especially since they welcome us here in the first place."
BOSS members also regularly volunteer to help at the annual German-American Friendship Fest, recent Zombie Run and other community-wide events.
"The volunteer work is fun," said Pfc. Uriah Montgomery, Wiesbaden BOSS president, and a member of Company B, 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion. "It's nice to help out -- to get out of the barracks. It starts the day off right -- especially when you see people out having fun in events like the Zombie Run or Turkey Trot."
Montgomery, like Buford, said he really appreciates the opportunity to experience Germany through BOSS -- having traveled to cities such as Cologne and engaging in laser tag with host nation players.
"Since everyone is so far from home -- we all live in the barracks -- it gives you a sense of home -- makes you feel good," said Montgomery. "The best value through BOSS is that it brings the single Soldiers together as a family."
Both BOSS leaders said they are always open to suggestions for new travel destinations and other projects.
"If the Soldiers come to us and say 'we want to go to this country,' we'll work with them to try and offer a trip at a reduced price," said Montgomery.
The BOSS leaders asked commanders and noncommissioned officer leaders to spread the word about BOSS to members of their units.
"We're trying to get more involvement among everyone -- especially the officers," said Buford, explaining that BOSS is open to all single and unaccompanied service members. "There's so much that this program can do and that they can do to help us help the Soldiers. It's a great networking opportunity. … Our goal is to make the program better for the Soldier."
In addition to reaching out to single and unaccompanied service members, Steve Eclavea, Wiesbaden BOSS coordinator, said many service members are unaware that the Warrior Zone (the BOSS program home base on Clay Kaserne in Building 1214) is open to all service members, regardless of status.
"This place is for all active duty members. It's a place to just come in and relax, use the WiFi or computers or just to catch up on the news in the evening," said Eclavea. "We have tons of Blu-rays and DvDs, and we welcome all active duty members and their guests."
In the coming weeks BOSS has trips scheduled to the Ramstein Shopping Center for holiday shopping on Dec. 3, a Holiday Bowling Party on Dec. 10 and Go-Kart Racing on Dec. 16. BOSS members will also pay their annual visit with gifts for the children at the Mainz Cancer Clinic.
To find out more about getting involved with Wiesbaden BOSS, stop by the Warrior Zone anytime during opening hours -- Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1-9 p.m.
BOSS meets at the Warrior Zone every first and third Wednesday of the month at 3 p.m. Anyone who is interested in the program is welcome to attend one of the meetings.
For more information visit BOSS on the Web at www.wiesbaden.armymwr.com or call civ (0611) 143-548-9816.