FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 25, 2018) -- The regular story time crowd at the Robert C. McEwen Library made some new friends when members of the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program visited the children on April 17.

"Really, we just wanted to reach out to all the kids here because it's Month of the Military Child and show them that we care," said Staff Sgt. Jon Bannister. "I thought it was a great idea - I have kids - and it's great to see Soldiers out helping with events like this."

In support of Month of the Military Child, the BOSS team took turns reading "The Day the Crayons Quit." However, before they could put their narration skills to work, the Soldiers - not knowing regular storytime protocol - were introduced to the warmup activity of "dinosaur dancing."

"What is going on here?" one BOSS member wondered aloud as he moved his hands and legs to mimic a lumbering Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Spc. Kimberly Mena was equally surprised.

"I didn't know that was part of the program, but I was doing the 'T-Rex' and 'Pterodactyl' dances all day," she said. "Those were my favorites."

"I was very uncoordinated," Bannister said.

Mena said that she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the kids.

"I had never read this book before, so it was really fun to get into character and watch what happened as everyone was reading it," she said. "To see the kids' faces and even the parents getting into it was really great."

BOSS members returned April 20 for a spirited physical training session with the children.

"We wanted to keep it fun for everyone - just some basic stretching, jumping jacks, pushups - nothing too hard," Mena said.

Bannister said that when troops deploy, the children back home have to learn to cope without that parent. Oftentimes, they step up and take on more responsibilities at home. Soldiers are familiar when complete strangers thank them for their service, and Month of the Military Child is a time when children are thanked for their sacrifices.

"They have to live their life without that dad or mom, so it makes a big impact when someone recognizes them for that," Bannister said.

"It's important to recognize them because they are part of the military too," Mena said. "They are part of the Army Family. As Soldiers, it is important for us to look at every element of the military - not just those who wear the uniform but everyone who supports those in uniform as well."