STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Soldiers with the Fort Hood Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Program made a two-hour trip north to Morgan Mill Elementary School to volunteer with the students, staff and community members here, Nov.18.
Three of those Soldiers were Spc. Dallas Parker, BOSS president, Sgt. Ryan Ward, Bravo Battery, 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and Sgt. Reece Kirby, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. They were all excited to have the chance to interact with the young students.
“It’s a good opportunity for kids to interact with service members and get some insight,” Ward said. “Little minds - they’re very intrigued.”
“I come from a small town myself so supporting small towns especially as a Soldier … I think it’s important to support small schools like this,” Kirby said. “Plus, we love volunteering so that’s why we’re here.”
“This is just a great opportunity to show our support to the community. The community always shows good support for the military so as Soldiers it’s nice to be able to give back and show that we appreciate their support,” Parker said. “To be able to come out and see the smiles on the kids’ faces and see how they look up to us - it’s a big morale boost for a lot of Soldiers.”
The Soldiers were able to do several things with the students including enjoying a nice Thanksgiving themed lunch, but Ward was most excited to play football with the students.
“It’s really fun to get out there and stay active,” Ward said. “That’s the most important thing - to stay active and have fun.”
Kirby was looking forward to seeing the students’ creative sides through coloring.
“We’re trying to take some (art) back home with us,” he said.
Parker enjoyed talking to the students the most and hearing what they had to say.
“I’m looking forward to just being able to mingle with the kids and hear the stories they want to tell and hear all the wild and crazy things they’re going to say,” he said. “Whether it be through stories they want to tell or ideas they have about the military and stuff like that.”
The school was filled with smiles and laughter from Soldiers and civilians throughout the BOSS program’s visit. In the end, the Soldiers left with their hands full of handwritten letters, drawings, coloring pages and a huge morale boost.
“I’d just like to thank the superintendent and the school staff for inviting us out here, giving us the opportunity to show face and show support for small towns,” Ward said. “It’s a great campus they have here and I appreciate it.”
“This is my first time coming here and this is awesome,” Kirby said. “(Stephenville) you’re supporting Soldiers by inviting us over here, which I appreciate.”
“The amount of people they pulled in for this, just to show support for us - it’s amazing. It means a lot to us,” Parker said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much it means to Soldiers to have that support because with as hard as the military can be at times, it’s really nice to have that support from the civilians.”