When Staff Sgt. Andrea Adams moved from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to Fort Gordon in 2019, she planned to get involved in the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. What the single mother didn’t expect was to take on the role of Fort Gordon’s BOSS president a short time later.
Adams, an instructor assigned to Headquarters and Alpha Company, 551st Signal Battalion, served as a BOSS representative at her previous duty station, during which time the extent of her involvement included sharing information with members of her unit.
“I didn’t go on any trips or anything,” Adams said. “But I saw what they did, and it kind of gave me my perception of what a BOSS program should look like.”
Adams found out about Fort Gordon’s BOSS program through its Facebook page and decided to attend a meeting. Despite juggling a hectic schedule as a single mom and instructor, she invested in the program and was able to take some of the information she learned back to her students.
“With [the pandemic], the Soldiers were so limited on what they could and where they could go, so I was able to get some ideas from BOSS,” she explained.
Fast-forward to April 2021, it was time for the program’s president to PCS, and Adams’ name was tossed around as a prospective successor.
“My goal was not to be the president at all,” she chuckled. “My goal was to just get information and then be able to spread it.”
Still, she accepted the offer, and the program has been flourishing.
Lorrie Chadd, Warrior Adventure Quest program coordinator and BOSS program advisor, said Adams brings a positive outlook and dedication to the program and its members.
“She just stepped up to the plate and started running with it,” Chadd said. “She’s so organized, she’s got so much energy, and the attention to detail on follow-through – which we really, really needed … she’s very good about getting everybody motivated to be part of the team.”
Adams’ latest undertaking is a prime example. Growing up as a military child, Adams said she went to haunted house events on post during the fall season.
“Every haunted house I went to was on post; it was never off post,” Adams said. “So for me, that was a big deal growing up.”
Wanting to bring the fun to Fort Gordon while creating new memories – and hopefully traditions – to other families, Adams pitched the idea of creating a haunted house to the BOSS program, for the community to enjoy, and the response was overwhelming. BOSS members and non-members alike were supportive and shared their ideas. Countless hours and supplies later, the haunted house “came to life” at the BOSS Headquarters, then a curveball was thrown their way that forced them to make a difficult decision. Circumstances beyond their control resulted in the haunted house either having to relocate or be canceled. A vote among BOSS volunteers resulted in a unanimous decision to proceed with moving to another location instead of canceling.
By Monday, Fort Gordon Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Brent Smith had secured Nelson Fitness Center as the haunted house’s new setting. Adams knew it would take a significant amount of time and teamwork to pull the move together, but the volunteers were committed.
“I was there at night watching these guys work, and it was amazing to watch,” said Jerry Swain, Disc Golf Course manager.
Swain is one of many in the community who has been instrumental in making the haunted house come together. Having worked with the BOSS program in some capacity since 2007, he said, “I’ve seen the ebb and flow of the BOSS program, and right now … I would honestly say this is one of the best events of all the Soldiers coming together that we’ve done in a long time.”
Smith, the BOSS program’s senior enlisted advisor, said he hopes the Fort Gordon community comes out and shows their support for the BOSS program and others in the community who are volunteering to put this on.
“This another great opportunity to get your family out to enjoy the community,” Smith said. “These service members have grown into a team focused on creating positive outcomes with the opportunity afforded to them. They earned this opportunity to demonstrate their talents, and I am proud of them. Let the BOSS team take you away from your stressful day with some scary fun.”
“If nothing else, come out and see your friends and family and all the work that they did,” Adams added.
Nelson Fitness Center is located at 21713 21st Street. Hours for the haunted house are 7-10 p.m. today and Saturday, and 6-8 p.m. Sunday.
Cost is $5 per person; under 6 years old is free. All proceeds will go toward helping offset the cost it took to put on the event.
The haunted house is family and stroller-friendly. Anyone wishing to have a less scary experience or who is afraid of the dark may want to consider going Sunday. Regardless, Adams said patrons can let volunteers know the level of scariness they wish to experience during check-in, and actors can adjust the fear factor to suit them.
BOSS meets every first and third Wednesday of the month at 3 p.m. at the BOSS Headquarters. All single and geographically separated service members are welcome.