FORT SILL, Okla. (May 17, 2018) -- Soldiers from the 100th Brigade Support Battalion visited the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center, April 27, to help out around the facility and to brighten the veterans' day.

The Soldiers assembled at the center dressed in comfortable civilian attire and immediately started on various projects.

They separated into small teams and completed an array of area beautification projects such as painting fire hydrants, staining wooden doorframes, changing filters in the ventilation systems, and picking up trash around the building.

Spc. Jawuan Smoot, a religious affairs specialist, who regularly spends his own time volunteering at the center, coordinated the event. He reached out to the Veterans Center in hopes of doing community work for them with his unit.

He said he wanted to create an event that boosted battalion morale while strengthening community relationships.

"The intent of the event was to engage the Soldiers wanting to volunteer in the Lawton-Fort Sill community, and to promote unit cohesion by creating an event that brought the unit together," Smoot said. "We wanted to give back to people who have paved the way for us."
While some Soldiers focused on area beautification tasks, several teams walked into veterans' rooms to chat.

"We've been visiting with veterans today; which has been nice because I don't think they always get the chance to share their pictures and stories," said Pfc. Destiny Gomez, a Soldier from the 258th Network Support Company.

Gomez said her favorite part of the day was looking through some of the photos that a veteran shared with her.

"You can see how their uniforms looked and how they carried themselves," Gomez said. "It was interesting to see how different [the uniforms] were, yet still how similar to how they are now."

Capt. Tommy Galloway, 258th NSC commander, said the exchange of stories between current and past Soldiers has been meaningful.

"It's been good to hear stories from them about when they served, and they like to hear stories from us about the current Army," Galloway said.

Some of the service members brought along their children and spouses. One Soldier even brought his service dog to the center to visit the veterans.

Galloway said it's important to take the time to give back to the community, especially so, to those who served before us.

"Visiting the veterans center is important because they're just like us," Galloway said. "They gave back to America and took an oath to serve years ago."

After all the projects were completed, the Soldiers said goodbye to the veterans and returned to their battalion in good spirits.

"I measure today's success by the smiles [left] on everyone's faces," Smoot said.