FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence (AMEDDC&S HRCoE) was proud to host an annual Viva Fiesta Fun Run on Fort Sam Houston.

This year Fiesta Royalty and members of the San Antonio Fiesta Commission participated in a pre-dawn, moderately paced, two-mile run. The run was led by over 1,200 medical trainees and cadre assigned to the Health Readiness Center of Excellence in the 32nd Medical Brigade, the Medical Professional Training Brigade, the Non-commissioned Officers Academy, and the HRCoE's Headquarters and Support Company.

The AMEDDC&S HRCoE, aligned under the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, trains over 35K-40K students annually through 192 health related programs of instruction on Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis. The school, which has been based at Fort Sam Houston since 1946, is the largest civilian-accredited service school in the Department of Defense. They conduct eight doctoral programs, five master degree programs, three enlisted soldier degree programs and are home to one of the largest Military Occupational Specialties in the U.S. Army: the 68W --Combat Medic.

Command Sergeant Major Carlisie Jones, the 32nd Medical Brigade Command Sergeant Major said, "This run allows our Soldiers to salute those who fought at the Alamo and Battle of Jacinto, two significant military events the original Fiesta parade was created to honor. We are thankful to the Fiesta Royalty and Commission for joining our Soldiers and contributing to this continued celebration of San Antonio's culture and the city's deep military ties."

Before the run, the group was entertained by Fort Sam's Own, 323d Army Band, greeted by "Torchy," the official mascot for the Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association, and heard from the commission about why this event is important. Jon Fristoe, who is a retired Army colonel and a former commander of the 32nd Medical Brigade, admits that he didn't know much about Fiesta until he lead the annual run while he was on active duty.

Fristoe said, "After a run just like this I had breakfast with the Fiesta King and his court. I asked him how I could get more involved with the community after I retired; he suggested I join the Fiesta Commission, so that is what I did two years later when I retired from active duty."

Now the Vice President of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, Fristoe said he was happy to get the opportunity to come back to Fort Sam Houston and talk to Soldiers about the many ways Fiesta supports San Antonio and the military. He said, "Only when you get out and go to Fiesta events do you understand the magnitude of it and how much value it brings to the city."

Since its inception in 1891, the Fiesta Parade has evolved into San Antonio's premier cultural festival with an annual impact of over $340 million for the city, according to the commission. Every official event that takes place each April is sponsored by a non-profit or military organization; the commission doesn't receive any Federal or State funding.

Fristoe believes that most people don't realize that Fiesta is a year-round event and not just the 10-day culmination at the end of the month. "It's all accomplished through the power of volunteers. If you want to give back, it doesn't have to be financial; you can give your time. Personally, it has been really rewarding for me to be able to contribute in this way," said Fristoe.

Though many events start this week, Fiesta 2019 is officially scheduled from April 18-28. All month there are many events tailored to the military and their families to include individual Army, Navy and Air Force Days at the Alamo; the All Veterans Memorial Service; the JBSA-Lackland Fiesta Military Parade; and the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Fiesta Ceremony and Fireworks Display. Visit fiestasantonio.org for a full list of events and more information.