By Ms. Catrina Francis (Fort Knox news)August 18, 2017
Balancing the military and their personal lives can sometimes be a challenge for Soldiers. For 1st Sgt. Brandon Butler, the first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Garrison Command, has added head coach to BeastMode track team to his responsibilities.
Butler understands that accomplishing the goal of having a successful track program means making sacrifices. He added that it's challenging because of he's a first sergeant. To make sure he fulfills all of his roles he said he spends time during the weekend as a first sergeant which also has to balance with his role as a husband and father.
"I (made) a lot of sacrifices, I missed games, (but) three out of my four kids ran track," he said. "They understand daddy's vision. It's all about making sacrifices to meet your goal. My goal is to make this a way of life in this area. If I leave here as a Soldier, (I want to) create … something else for these kids to participate in."
Krissy Butler, said she understands her husband's vision and she also works to make sure everything runs smoothly.
"He goes hard for these kids," she said. "He loves what he does (and) he's going to find a way. There is a vision (and) I'm on board with (him)."
For the last two years Butler has coached the team and he doesn't take his role lightly. He said his motivation for starting the team stemmed from the need to make sure kids were busy but he also wanted them to stay fit.
"(I wanted) to bring a program where kids can come together to compete and train," said Butler.
In its inaugural year BestMode had about 60 children on the team but Butler also lost a few kids due to military parents having a permanent change of station. This year he added to the program by instituting the eight-week BeastMode camp that was held at Mill Creek Baptist Church. This year there were about 40 to 50 kids on the team. Butler implemented things such as core strengthening movements and hand-eye-coordination.
"(It was) everything an athlete needs to compete in every sport," explained Butler. "A lot of children miss things in gym class are the things we worked on."
Butler has also made the team competitive. He makes sure they compete against runners in the state as well as runners in neighboring states. The team travels to places such as Indiana and Tennessee. He also makes sure the runners implement goals. He wants to make sure they have something to work toward. Butler also stresses the importance of education to his runners and other children when he visits area schools.
"I go to schools and let them know the importance of student first athlete second," he said.
For the past two years Butler has believed in his program and he knows the sky is the limit. Although he pushes and asks a lot from his runners, it's paid off when the runners coimpeted against some of the better runners in the nation.
Last year five of the team's runners competed in the Jr. Olympics and this year there were 11.
For the first time in two years BeastMode has an Olympic gold medalist. During this year's Jr. Olympics 9-year-old Noelle Allen won gold in the 100- and 200- meter races. In fact, Allen is the fastest 9 year old in the nation.
The Woodland Elementary School fourth-grader said she began running two years ago because she liked running, and being on the team has made her a stronger runner and improved her mechanics of running.
Although she's the fastest in the nation in her age group, Allen said she wasn't nervous when it was time to run because she ran in last year's Jr. Olympics.
"I knew I could do it, I just had to try," said Allen.
Allen said she will continue running for BeastMode and she plans to continue once she attends middle school.
"I see myself continuing and (I want) to run (for the track team) when I get to high school," she said. "It's a sport I really enjoy."
Butler said Allen is a natural because she already had the speed when she joined the team, he just provided her with the opportunity to improve.
"She was able to go places to be challenged (and provide) her an opponent to push her," Butler said. "Last year she never lost a race in Kentucky and (when) she went to Indiana she lost. When she got to the Jr. Olympics she saw the girl who beat her (in Indiana), and Noelle beat her at the Jr. Olympics."
Butler said Allen had a never give up mindset because she refused to experience the feeling of defeat again. He added that Allen hasn't lost a race this year.
Butler is proud of the accomplishments the runners have made in the last two years. He said he also has a good rapport with the runners and he likes that they can sit down and talk to him about anything and enjoys his role as a mentor.
"We have created a name and (we have) the fastest (9 year old) in the nation and we have middle schoolers (who are) sixth in the state in the 4x400-(meter relay)," said Butler.