FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army is a fast-paced organization, and the operational tempo can often move at the speed of light. Across the force, focusing on the mission can sometimes lead to the Army’s number one priority, its Soldiers, being overstressed and overworked. Leaders need to have the emotional intelligence and empathy to know when to call a time-out, give Soldiers a much-deserved break and show them they are appreciated.
Leaders across the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command paused, reflected and held the 2021 Soldier Appreciation Day July 2.
An event designed for Soldiers and their families, attendees participated in; video game competitions, ultimate frisbee, corn hole, flag football and other esprit de corps inducing activities.
As Soldiers got the opportunity to relax, leaders prepared and served food for them as a small token of thanks for their hard work and dedication.
“It was important for me to have a day that we can tell all the Soldiers, every one of you, from a leadership perspective how much I appreciate you,” said Brig. Gen. Ronald R. Ragin, Commanding General, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Sometimes, Soldiers of all ranks feel as if their efforts day-in and day-out are in vain and can feel neglected, but the 13th ESC leadership understands the importance of proving that fallacy false.
“This is an important day because Soldiers need to know that we appreciate them,” said Capt. Vidal Freeman, Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC.
HHC, 13th ESC’s 1st Sgt. Terrance Porter echoed the thoughts of his company commander, and believes in order for Soldiers to enjoy what they do, leaders must emphasis the importance of moderation.
“Soldiers need to know that it’s not always about work,” Porter said. “Leaders need to find that balance.”
Pfc. Erin Appling, 418th Transportation Company, 49th Transportation Battalion, had the opportunity to enjoy some of the festivities during the event.
The Chatsworth, Georgia native recently reached the one-year milestone in her Army career and appreciated the sentiment of the day.
“It is a good morale boost because we need a break every once in a while,” Appling said.
Cpl. Richard Salisbury, 53rd Quartermaster Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, is a Belvidere, New Jersey native who has been in the Army for five years and was excited for what the day.
“It makes things a lot less stressful just having a day to relax,” Salisbury explained.
The Army, leaders and Soldiers, have endured some adversity over the last year, so gaining, or regaining, the trust of Soldiers, families and the community, is something leaders continue to strive for every day.
But the only way to truly create positive change is to not simply go through the motions, but for leaders to prove their sincerity at all times.
“That’s how you win,” Ragin said. “Not by simply giving Soldiers time off, but by showing them that you genuinely care.”