SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Continuing with a tradition going back more than 20 years, garrison employees took time out of their busy schedules to have some fun, here, April 13-16, during the annual Garrison Organization Celebration.

"(U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii) celebrates its anniversary by hosting a Garrison Organization Celebration each year," said Stacy Harding, chief, Recreation Division, and overall GOC coordinator, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

The weeklong celebration kicked off with bowling, a golf scramble, a 5K fun run/walk and then ended with a picnic at the Nehelani, where garrison employees and their families competed in additional games such as bunco, Texas Hold 'Em and bingo.

New to this year's GOC was an initiative nicknamed "GOC Goes Green," which included a recycling drop off, and book and CD swap. The initiative was sponsored by the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or BOSS, program.

"BOSS collected used eyeglasses and cell phones from the garrison employees and will be donating them to local charities," explained McKenna Elder, recreation specialist and acting BOSS installation president, Tropics Recreation Center, FMWR. "BOSS also collected used CDs and books, and the products were exchanged between the employees at the picnic in attempts to recycle rather than throw the products in the trash."

Other new activities included a Texas Hold 'Em tournament, a cooking competition and the return of tug of war, with the Directorate of Public Works winning both the male and female categories.

"The purpose of GOC is to promote a healthy, competitive spirit and build relationships among all the directorates across the garrison," Harding said.

One organization that took GOC's purpose to heart was the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security's Range Division. A group of more than 10 range civilians and contractors participated in nearly every one of GOC's events. Most visible was their participation in the 5K Fun Run/Walk, where they made up more than a third of the total participants and wore matching red T-shirts.

"After training together for a few months, we thought (the 5K) would be the perfect media to try our wings," said Stephanie Austin, environmental coordinator and a run participant, Range Division, DPTMS.

"Another important factor was that this was a garrison event," Austin added. "Range Division is very supportive of (not only each other, but) our Soldiers, and the garrison as well, and we wanted to show it.

"Early finishers re-entered the track to cheer on and support the later finishers," Austin continued. "We were all very supportive of each other, and everyone finished in under an hour."

Range Division had been training since January, complete with daily two-mile runs/walks during lunch and workout sessions at Martinez Physical Fitness Center, after work, several days a week.

"There is such accountability in our group, which keeps us all focused and having fun," Austin said. "I'm even trying to talk the guys into the Zumba class on Fridays offered on-post."

While the running group in red hasn't decided if they'll pursue other running events around the island, they are certain that they'll be back next year for the GOC's 5K Fun Run/Walk.

"We'll definitely be participating next year," Austin said. "We are a strong ohana. It is so important to be supportive of each other, our troops and support branches. It is important that we all go out there and show our pride for our Soldiers in Hawaii."

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