By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 1, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker recently renovated its Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers facility to improve the life of single Soldiers on the installation, but that endeavor wouldn't have happened without the efforts of the Soldiers behind the program.
Eleven Soldiers were awarded two Army Commendation Medals, eight Army Achievement Medals and two Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals during the post's first BOSS awards, which were presented by Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher D. Spivey, Fort Rucker garrison command sergeant major, and Col. Jason Miller, 1st Aviation Brigade commander, at the BOSS facility Jan. 24.
"This is all for their efforts and what they've done with this building to get it going for the grand opening," said Spivey. "These Soldiers busted their behinds making sure this building was ready to go, and on the day of with the cooking and everything else. They did a superb job for not just the BOSS program, but everybody on the installation."
The BOSS facility was reopened last year after a major renovation that included new carpeting, furniture, gaming systems, TVs, appliances, cookware and a revamped theater room. The facility also houses a new air hockey table, foosball table, dart board and newly covered pool table.
But despite the renovation, none of it would have happened without the initiative of the Soldiers involved, which includes the funds procured for the project.
"The money that we got for the building was because of everything that they did prior to it," said Spivey. "We can't get the money without the volunteers. BOSS has to volunteer so (many hours) and do so much on the installation to receive a certain amount of dollars, so they volunteered last year about 1,500 hours.
"That's pretty significant considering the flex schedules that they work," he continued. "Everything that was put into this building was because of the effort they put forward prior to us even submitting for that money."
For many of the Soldiers, the efforts they put in weren't about any individual gratification, but to be able to serve their fellow Soldiers who are on the same journey.
"A lot of us put in a lot of work on our off time," said BOSS president Sgt. Brooklyn Phillips, 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (Airfield Operations). "We work all day and then we come in on our own time or on the weekends to volunteer with activities to raise money for the program, so it's nice to get recognized for the work that you put in.
"BOSS helps the single Soldiers around Fort Rucker to provide them with opportunities to get out and see the area, or do activities that they're not able to do or afford being single Soldiers," she continued. "This building gives our Soldiers a place where they can play video games or watch TV, because a lot of our Soldiers don't have that, so this gives them a place to hang out with their friends, play pool or cook food."
For Spc. Ashley Barahona, U.S. Army Dental Clinic Command, and BOSS vice president Spc. Shyyandria Walker, U.S. Army Veterinary Command, it's all about improving the lives of their fellow Soldiers.
"When it comes to the BOSS program, it's just an organization that helps better our lives," said Barahona. "Whenever we're by ourselves here, sometimes for some of us it's our first time away from home, and the program really helps (Soldiers) to feel like they're at home, and it gives us opportunities not just to do things for ourselves, but to give back to the community."
"BOSS to me is about giving back," added Walker. "We give back to the community, we give back to our Soldiers and it's just really gives the Soldiers something to do after work."
Spivey said that the efforts of the BOSS Soldiers is something the installation will continue to try and recognize, adding that all of their praise is well deserved.
"I couldn't be any prouder of all of them -- even the ones who aren't standing up here tonight," said the garrison command sergeant major. "I just couldn't be any prouder of any of the BOSS Soldiers we have."