SAN ANTONIO – Employees of the U.S. Army Environmental Command granted holiday wishes for several families whose students attend Fort Sam Houston Elementary, their partnered school.
The wishes were granted as part of the command’s annual Angel Tree program and the demand this year mirrors the hardships others are facing.
“Christmas is all about the kids and anything we can do to make children have a little better Christmas is worth it,” said Linda Albrecht, a metallurgical engineer with USAEC.
Teachers from the school identify families interested in participating in the Angel Tree program, and USAEC employees traditionally select the names and wishes from a Christmas tree set up in the break room.
This year because of COVID-19 telework, the command set up a virtual Angel Tree for employees to select the children and wishes they wanted to grant.
USAEC has a long of history of partnering with local schools going back to when it was based at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. After the move to Joint Base San Antonio in 2011, USAEC partnered with the elementary school as part of the Fort Sam Houston Adopt-A-School Program.
“Our team loves having the opportunity to interact with the children, to share our love of learning and knowledge of the environmental sciences, and in this space we get to make the holidays a little brighter,” said Col. Alicia Masson, USAEC commander. “It is entirely appropriate that we have this partnership with the students and staff at a school on JBSA because our mission is about people, and these are our team’s children at this school.”
The command also participates in other activities throughout the year such as Read Across America, Career Day, Purple Up Day and a nature field day at Salado Park. The purpose of the partnership is to improve the citizenship and learning experiences for the children and encourage them to pursue further education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Fort Sam Houston Elementary is made up of the most dedicated and thoughtful parents which in turn has created our beautiful student body,” said Joseph Cerna, principal, Fort Sam Houston Elementary School.
“The FSHE Adopt-A-School program is important to our school because it shows that we are one community, one big family,” he said. “We are honored that U.S. Army Environmental Command has once again shown a commitment to our school community with their generosity and thoughtfulness.”
The USAEC staff consists of specialists in a variety of fields including archeologists, biologists, chemists, ecologists, engineers, entomologists, environmental scientists, geographers, geologists, physical scientists, physicists, and toxicologists. The organization also includes support staff such as business analysts, communication specialists, human resources specialists, information technology specialists, lawyers, logisticians and others.