U.S. Army Sgt. Ian Holmes, CH-47 Chinook Helicopter Repairer with Bravo Company, 404th Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, earned the 2023 Better Opportunities President of the Year award. Holmes’s honor is an Army-wide award, given for “exceptional service to the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program.”
Command Sgt. Maj Jason Copeland, the command sergeant major of the Installation Management Command, presented the award and an Army Commendation Medal to Holmes August 9, 2023 at Fort Carson.
Holmes joined the Army in 2019 and was stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea where he became an active member of the BOSS program.
Being stationed in another country and far from family, Holmes began to feel lonely and knew he had to find something to do to keep his spirits up.
A sergeant recognized Holmes’s struggles dealing with “more distance from everyone,” Holmes said, and introduced him to the BOSS program. “That’s when I started actually volunteering.”
Holmes became more and more active with the program, hosting events and volunteering in the community. He knew he wanted to join the council when he organized his first event, a video game tournament for the Korean Augmentation Soldiers To the United States Army.
“It put a fire in me,” Holmes said. “I was beyond excited during the event and was having a blast hosting it… I honestly could not wait to create another event and provide that experience to other Soldiers.”
As BOSS president Holmes and his team became known for pursuing partnerships with other programs, such as Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, better known as SHARP.
“Through those unique partnerships we were able to mend that bridge, build that bridge, and create programs that really intertwined it and built a foundation better for the BOSS program,” said Holmes.
Holmes generated some controversy by pursuing this strategy, but felt vindicated by winning this award.
“One of the things I used to say all the time in Korea: It doesn’t stand for Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers; it stands for Building Our Soldiers Stronger,” said Holmes. “The program’s there to make more well-rounded soldiers to better the Army.”
Cpl. Dionisio Marcelo, Medical Logistics Specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 627th Hospital Center, 1st Medical Brigade, who was 2022 BOSS representative of the year for Camp Humphreys, worked closely with Holmes.
“Any programs, any events that he wanted to push out he got just because he pushed for it hard,” Marcelo said of Holmes.
He recalled that Holmes was always the last one to leave the office.
“Sgt. Holmes is one of the hardest-working Soldiers I’ve ever met, very inspiring, very motivating,” Marcelo said.
Holmes boasted of BOSS that it can help single Soldiers with “knowing how to live on an installation, how to interact with others, how to create friendships that last moving duty station from duty station.”
Holmes highly encouraged senior leaders to let their Soldiers go out and enjoy the programs that are being created.
For more information about the Fort Carson BOSS program you can go to https://carson.armymwr.com/BOSS.