By Staff Sgt. Armando LimonNovember 28, 2016
HONOLULU - Three Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division, were recognized for their selfless service to Hawaii public schools during the 15th Annual Joint Venture Education Forum (JVEF) at the Hawaii Convention Center, here, on Nov. 17.
The JVEF is a cooperative partnership between the military community and the Hawaii Department of Education that strives to provide positive learning environments and quality educational opportunities for children in Hawaii's public schools.
The Soldiers volunteered their time and efforts with six different schools in the Central Oahu region.
"What makes the JVEF and the school partnership program so important?" Opperude asked. "Investing time and energy into the community is good for the individual Soldier, as well as the military on Oahu. It is extremely rewarding to be involved with students and educators in and around where we work.
"Being a good steward of the community and role model to local students is a point of pride, and I think we should all take this responsibility seriously," he added. "It has been very rewarding to see these relationships grow over the past few years, and I would expect nothing, but continued success for our unit and the partnerships we maintain with area schools."
First Lieutenant Ashley M. Sperry, assigned to HHC, 29th Bde. Engineer Battalion, "Wayfinders," was recognized for her efforts volunteering with a local school since October 2014 and has loved every minute of her experience.
"I was the school partnership liaison for 29th BEB with Solomon Elementary School," Sperry said. "I wanted to get involved because I adore watching children grow in their education, and it is very rewarding to see how excited the children get when Soldiers come by and participate in events with them."
Her favorite events the past two years have been volunteering as a judge for the Solomon Science Far, as well as Math Days.
"I want to personally thank the principal, Sally Omalza, and the school coordinator for the partnership, Ribanna, for allowing me the opportunity to join in and help with school activities," she added.
Sgt. Adam J. Egg, assistant operations noncommissioned officer assigned to HHC, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regiment, "Cacti," was the Soldier who coordinated with Ernest Muh, the principal of Helemano Elementary School, to restart the school partnership with Cacti.
"Helemano Elementary School and 2-35th Inf. Regt. have worked together in the past," Adams explained as the reason for reconnecting ties again between Cacti and Helemano.
"The students of Helemano Elementary School and faculty are nice and helpful people," he added. "I could see how much it meant to the students that 2-35th Inf. Regt. came out to conduct fun activities with them."
Egg said he greatly enjoyed spending his time interacting with students and getting Cacti involved with helping out with the school.
"Helemano Elementary School is a great school, and the faculty are very helpful with supplying me with dates that 2-35th Inf. Regt. can come to the school and participate in Fun Days and other events like their Fun Run," he added.