KILLEEN, Texas — The Killeen Chamber of Commerce recognized its community heroes at the Killeen Civic & Conference Center here, Nov. 2, including Fort Hood Soldiers, retirees, veterans and families.
“Here we are at the inaugural Heroes Luncheon,” Maj. Gen. Steven Gilland, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, said during the luncheon. “I say inaugural because I hope that we continue this tradition of recognizing those persons who come out in service to their neighbors.”
The Fort Hood Military Jeepers received the award in the military category, after braving icy conditions during Winter Storm Uri to transport first responders to and from hospitals.
“What they do is super important, so they can’t not be at work,” Staff Sgt. Jared Miller, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army – Division West, said. “We took the jeeps out and provided them safe transportation to work. Some couldn’t get out of their driveways or houses, so we were able to get them to work and keep the hospitals moving.”
Miller was the president of the Fort Hood Military Jeepers during the winter storm in February. He said when he made the call for volunteers, everyone was excited to help out. He said they were working nearly round-the-clock and took about 300 calls and received more than 2,000 messages for support.
“We totaled 5,000 miles between 16 drivers,” Miller said. “We basically ran until we ran out of fuel.”
Miller accepted the award alongside fellow Jeepers Sgt. Clay Farver, 4th Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Division, and his wife Desiree Farver. The group was nominated by several organizations, but accepted the presentation from Chief James Chism, City of Killeen Fire Department.
Retired 1st Sgt. Judenia Wilson and retired state nurse Pauline Terry-Culbert accepted Heroes Awards for ensuring COVID-19 vaccine clinics were staffed and vaccines were properly prepared. The pair volunteers for the Greater Vision Community Church Nursing Team. Wilson said they realized people were coming in from larger cities to receive the vaccine in Killeen, so they took measures to ensure their own community also received the vaccine.
“It’s an honor and it was my pleasure just to be able to serve,” Wilson, who retired in 2014 from First Army – Division West, said. “It’s always good to be nice because you never know when you’ll need it yourself. Being able to help others is also the way God wants us.”
Retired Staff Sgt. Steven Rossler and wife Kristen were honored for providing meals to people in the Killeen community during Winter Storm Uri. The couple and their two daughters – 6-year-old Paisley and 3-year-old JuJu – who were without water or power themselves, fired up their 500-gallon smoker and barbecue grill to feed people.
“We made 3,000 meals and helped people out with fire wood, water and supplies,” Rossler, who was on transition leave from the Army during the storm, said. “Our society, the world as a whole, there’s so much fighting. I wasn’t raised like that,” he said. “My dad told me to treat others as I would want to be treated. We were just doing our part.”
The following Community Heroes will be recognized at a later date:
- Martin DeAvila, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
- Lt. Col. Joseph Black, Fort Hood Soldier Recovery Unit
- Command Sgt. Maj. Kente Bryant, Fort Hood Soldier Recovery Unit
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Pedro Garza, 1st Cavalry Division
- Pamela Governal, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
- Staff Sgt. Jessie Lawson, 36th Engineer Brigade
- Staff Sgt. Javot Propst, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
- Sgt. 1st Class Steven Lorenzo, 3rd Security Forces Assistance Brigade
- Brenda Johnson, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
- Robert Millenbach, Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works
- Willie Miller, Fort Hood Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security
- Fred Corbin, Fort Hood Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security
- Charles Elam, Fort Hood Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security
- Ricky Rounds, Fort Hood Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security