By Sgt. Jeff StorrierNovember 14, 2016
FORT BELVOIR, Virginia - The Washington Capitals honored a U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Soldier in a pre-game ceremony before the NHL team's home game against the Winnipeg Jets at the Verizon Center, Nov. 3.
Sgt. Maria Calara, an INSCOM human resources specialist, was recognized during the Capitals' Army Appreciation Night for her recent deployment to Qatar. Calara stood at center ice with Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army Chief of Staff, as more than 15,000 hockey fans applauded Calara's efforts.
"It didn't really hit me, until I was standing there on the ice with Gen. Milley," Calara said. "Being solely recognized was such a unique experience."
The U.S. Army Chorus from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall performed the national anthem while Calara stood at attention in her dress blues. Players from each team then skated up for a quick handshake.
Calara's 2-year old son, Elijah, was impressed with the ceremony and, most certainly, with seeing his mother on the Jumbotron at Verizon.
"That's my mommy!" he shouted, when he saw Calara larger than life on the big screen above him.
Before the ceremony, Milley met with Calara and presented Elijah with a coin.
It was a memorable experience for Calara, one she and her son won't soon forget.
"It was such a proud moment," Calara said. "I felt like a hero to my son."