By Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin RingoldMay 29, 2019
BELTON, Texas - The gleeful excitement of children carried through the gentle spring breeze. As students cheered, teachers, parents and volunteers screamed alongside them with delight. Though the fun wasn't taking place in a kingdom, on this day, their school was the most magical place on Earth.
21 Soldiers and leaders from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, participated in Field Day at their Adopt-A-School, Lakewood Elementary, May 24.
Field Day is an annual event for the school, and this year's event was Disney themed with each of the 19 stations and decorations centered around well-known Disney movies.
Lakewood Elementary 1st year Coach Daren Ranesar, an Army veteran who recently retired after 22 years of service, helped put the event together and was excited for what the day had to offer.
"It's a day to celebrate the students and their accomplishments in a fun, relaxed environment with their friends and Family," Ramesar said.
The students and teachers sported custom-made school Field Day shirts with the trademark Mickey Mouse outline, while many of the teachers donned Mickey Mouse ears as well.
"This is a fun day for teachers and students," said Angela Mikeska, 17-year teacher at Lakewood Elementary. "The kids get to play and show comradery with their classmates."
The school is part of a Belton community that wholeheartedly supports Soldiers and their Family members, and this event alffords Soldiers the opportunity to repay them for that sentiment.
Michigan native Pfc. Kyle Abke, 13th ESC, was in charge of the Tangled tug-of-war station. Abke comes from a Family with a long history of military service, and volunteered as soon as the opportunity arose.
"I wanted to give back to the students," Abke said. "It's a good image for the Army and it feels good to give back."
Along with the Soldiers, members of the Belton High School football team like Jonah Jimenez also volunteered their time.
"I went to elementary school here and wanted to come back to this event and help out," Jimenez said.
His teammate, Jeremiah Wade, shared a similar excitement.
"When we did our first field day it was so exciting," said Wade. "I wanted to make sure they had fun too."
There were a variety of fun activities for the students to enjoy, from the Under the Sea water slide, the Wreck It Ralph wrecking ball station and the Tigger Training potato sack station, but Lakewood Elementary 1st year coach Holly Parker had a feel for what the students enjoyed the most about their day.
"I think they just liked having an entire day to be active and have fun all day long," Parker said. "That would not have been possible with the help of the Soldiers and volunteers so we really appreciate it."
Lea and Jason Hanson have had students enrolled at the school for the last four years and Jason, who is an Army captain with First Army Division West on Fort Hood, Texas, appreciated the help from other service members.
"It's good for the students to see Soldiers helping the school," Jason said. "For me, seeing them lets me see how much we are involved in the community."
After the Last Incredible Dash relay was ran and the last students exited the Off to Neverland playground, everyone could reflect on the day and how great it was.
"It was a huge honor to have the Soldiers participate in our event," Ramesar said. "The students loved interacting with the parents, staff and Soldiers and we look forward to having our Adopt-A-School at our next event because it also allows us to show our appreciation to the Soldiers as well."