FORT HOOD, Texas - Though there was no power, Fort Hood Family Housing residents and workers took the opportunity to light up their communities with Brighten Up ERRE Day Community and Park Clean-Up event March 15.
Once the Energy Resilience Readiness Exercise began, all 11 Fort Hood Family Housing communities started picking up trash in their communities.
“The clean-up went very well. Our teams were able to get out and engage with residents in the community while helping clean-up around the community grounds and parks during the outage,” said Chris Albus, project director of Fort Hood Family Housing. “Residents also did an amazing job of participating and bringing bags of trash to the community offices in exchange for goody bags.”
Staff Sgt. Christian Nevitt, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and his daughter Saoirse Nevitt, 2, were one of the first to be spotted picking up trash and receiving a goody bag in Comanche III.
“It’s rough as a parent when you don’t have electricity, and the wind blows a lot of trash all over our neighborhoods, so this is a brilliant way to give us something to do and be productive,” Nevitt said.
Other organizations at Fort Hood were also involved, including the Fort Hood Girl Scouts who cleaned the Montague Community Garden in preparation for the spring planting season.
“Organizations joined in to help Fort Hood Family Housing with the community garden clean up including DPW (Directorate of Public Works) Environmental, the Fort Hood Girl Scouts, The Community Life NCO (noncommissioned officer) of Montague, and our valued residents,” Albus said.
Sgt. First Class Donovan Lee, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, helped during the clean-up event and helped serve free lunch to community members. He enjoyed seeing everyone who was involved in making their community brighter.
“When people were dropping off their trash bags, we gave them something for that,” Lee said of his favorite part of the event. “A lot of people came and dropped off their bags. That was the most rewarding part – the kids’ faces that come in (when) they get a bag.”
After the clean-up, residents were invited to their community centers to receive free lunch, where approximately 2,000 lunches were given out among the housing communities.
“One of our focuses remains on the resident experience. We understand the inconvenience a power outage can cause for families, and since all the eateries on the installation were closed, we wanted to help our residents by providing a light lunch,” Albus said. “Thanks to the partnership from the Fort Hood VFW, who covered the sandwiches provided, we were able to serve almost half of our resident population.”
Albus was very thankful to everyone who helped in making sure that ERRE, the clean-up and the lunch handout went smoothly.
“Preparations for this exercise were a true team effort. We are thankful to our military partner here at Fort Hood who helped to ensure we were all prepared,” he said. “I’d like to personally thank our entire Fort Hood Family Housing team for their dedication to ensuring residents were taken care of leading up to ERRE day and throughout the power outage.”