High five
Dressed as Buzz Lightyear, Sgt. Travis Boreni, 68th Engineer Construction Company, high-fives Antonio Vicario during the EarthFest & Month of the Military Child drive-thru event at Fort Hood, Texas, April 8. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - In honor of Earth Day and Month of the Military Child, several organizations on Fort Hood partnered to provide the EarthFest and MOMC celebration at Hood Stadium here April 8.

The “To Infinity and Beyond” themed event provided children a fun way to learn about the environment with their favorite “Toy Story” characters.

Fort Hood Family Housing, Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Division, U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood Safety, United Services Organization – Fort Hood, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, Fort Hood’s Child & Youth Services, the Fort Hood Commissary and the Fort Hood Resident Advisory Board partnered together to host the drive-thru event.

“We enjoy finding unique and fun ways to bring joy to our military families and residents all year long, but especially during Month of the Military Child,” said Chris Albus, project director of Fort Hood Family Housing. “This event is a way for us to celebrate our youngest residents for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.”

The drive-thru event featured music, games with prizes, educational materials, snacks, pizza and more. Fort Hood Family Housing also hosted a Facebook photo contest for a chance to win a Facebook Portal.

“Additionally, this event provides us the opportunity to teach residents about the importance of sustainability and provide educational tips they can implement at home,” Albus said.

Christine Luciano, outreach coordinator for DPW – Environmental, said all the organizations working together toward a common goal allows them to energize, educate and inspire.

“Our archaeologist, environmental protection specialists and environmental program managers tag-teamed to do a show-and-tell of Fort Hood wildlife and artifacts,” Luciano said. “It was also an opportunity to reemphasize that single-stream recycling does not mean everything and highlight the services offered at Fort Hood Recycle and the Classification Unit. While emphasizing the 3Rs to reduce, reuse and recycle, our growing relationship with the DPW and garrison safety programs also allowed us to share the 3Rs of explosive safety to recognize, retreat and report.”

Besides seeing the smiling faces of the children going through the drive-thru, she said the best part was watching Soldiers and civilians working side-by-side. She said Maj. Kandice Hines and Lt. Jake Howell engaged children one-on-one and helped share the message of protecting the environment.

“The enthusiasm and motivation of these Soldiers are instrumental to our DPW team and the community,” she added.

Luciano said she believes events like these not only help raise awareness about important issues, but also fosters positive relationships among Soldiers and families.

“Community engagement builds stronger relationships with Soldiers and their families and has a domino effect on inspiration and action,” she said. “Kids develop the confidence, leadership and decision-making to rethink their daily actions and how they can influence change at home, at school and in their community.”