By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 17, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Military children face many challenges, and one major challenge is when a parent is deployed or serving at another duty station, but Fort Rucker is committed to making sure that its children know their sacrifices are appreciated.
Soldiers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program hosted its annual Hearts Apart Fishing with BOSS at Parcours Lake May 12 where children were able to learn some skills with rods and reels with the help of volunteers, according to Teresa Whitman-McCall, BOSS adviser and RDS program manager.
"The BOSS fishing with Hearts Apart and (Survivor Outreach Services) families is a great opportunity for the single Soldiers to help give back a little bit to the community," said Whitman-McCall. "The Hearts Apart Program is for families who are not together, so this gives the kids a chance to have a laugh and a smile, do something that they're not able to do on a daily basis and learn how to fish."
The event was specifically held at the beginning of summer in order to give the children a chance to learn a new skill that they can use to participate in throughout the summer on their own time, if they so desire, said the BOSS adviser.
Soldiers took their time out of their Saturday mornings to volunteer to help teach the children to fish, and for Spc. Clayton Jonathan, 6th Military Police Detachment BOSS representative, it's a skill he was more than happy to pass on.
"I've been in the South all my life and I love fishing -- I love everything about it," he said. "So, anytime I can do (anything related to fishing), like watch the kids and help them, I'm all over it."
Although BOSS exists for single Soldiers, the organization also exists to reach out into the community to help others, said Jonathan.
"BOSS helps out single Soldiers a lot, but we help the community, as well," he said. "We're not just focused on us as single Soldiers -- we focus on everyone. All of the events we do are for everyone.
"Being a single Soldier, BOSS gives me something that I'm able to do and be a part of," he continued. "It's volunteering and I love doing that. As soon as my unit said that they needed a BOSS (representative), I stood up and said, 'OK, I got you.'"
Being able to provide help throughout his community is something that Jonathan said gives him a feeling of satisfaction, and seeing the satisfaction on the children's faces, especially when they make a catch, is well worth the effort.
Jordan Edwards, military family member, was among those to attend the fishing event and said that it's become one of his favorite pastimes.
"It feels good to (fish with others)," said Edwards. "I caught a fish and a turtle."
When asked what he liked most about fishing, Edwards simply replied, "eating them," but none of the fish that were caught would be served up for supper. Each catch was tossed back into the lake.
"This is just a great community experience," said Whitman-McCall. "This allows (the children and Soldiers) to become mentors and friends, and just tries to bring a little joy to their lives."