By Ms. Brittany Nelson (IMCOM)August 2, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, FORT SAM HOUSTON (August 2, 2019)- Soldiers and staff from around the world gathered in Indianapolis for the 30th anniversary of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers training symposium and gave back to the city.
During the BOSS training, a community service event was hosted for Soldiers and Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff to beautify Military Park, a section of White River City Park, in downtown Indianapolis.
"Community service is one of the three pillars of BOSS so we got the Solders out of their seats to give back," said Staff Sgt. Adrian Mooney, Department of the Army BOSS representative.
Soldiers and MWR staff worked together to clean up the city's historic park.
"The park has always had strong ties to the military. It was a Civil War training grounds at one point," said Sampson Levingston, manager of social media and marketing at White River City Park. "To have the military out here helping to keep it clean is special."
Tree limbs were trimmed, trash was picked up, and the covered pavilion was power washed by BOSS Soldiers and staff.
Soldiers new to the BOSS program were able to learn more about community service during the training symposium.
Among the volunteers was Cpl. Devon Douglas, the BOSS president at Fort Carson and the BOSS representative of Installation Management Command's readiness directorate.
"Community service is important to me because I had community that helped me when I was young," said Douglas. "I grew up poor, and I know what it's like to stand in line at the soup kitchen or receive used clothing, now I want to give back."
Douglas enjoys coordinating community service events for his BOSS program and says that Soldiers value the time spent giving back.
"I have seen Soldiers who have never been to a food bank or a homeless shelter and after they go they walk away with their heart full," said Douglas. "After volunteering you learn to appreciate what you do have."
One act of service stands out to Douglas in particular. In February, while Douglas was BOSS president at Fort Polk, a terminally ill child became a Soldier for a day with the help of the garrison leadership and their BOSS program.
"We brought him on base and he was sworn in as commanding general," said Douglas. "The commander at Fort Polk opened up the doors to him, and he got to do everything he wanted to do. The dining facility even served his favorite food, mashed potatoes."
Douglas said the day was very heart felt, and it was an eye-opening community service event. A few months later the child passed away, and Douglas was asked to speak at his service.
Along with giving back to the city, Soldiers and staff learned how to better perform their roles within the BOSS program and kept up with daily physical training.
Mooney wanted to give the soldiers and staff something big to remember from the training so he coordinated a surprise PT session at the Lucas Oil stadium where the Indianapolis Colts play.
"The PT was absolutely incredible especially because it wasn't expected," said Staff Sgt. Michael Edwards, BOSS president at Fort Lee. "Being in the stadium with the big bright lights was so cool. We were broken down into teams and working out together to finish; it was really great."
Mooney said that the 30th anniversary training helped each aspect of the BOSS triad, the BOSS president, the senior military adviser and the MWR adviser.
"The event went great. "Many of the new Soldiers and advisers learned valuable skills to take back to their garrisons and use in their programs," said Mooney.
Next on the BOSS agenda is preparing for the upcoming BOSS Strong Championship in 2020.