JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Go-karts, arcade games, poker tournaments, jousting, a Velcro "fly wall," billiards, food, beverages and more ... all free and all ways Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers showed its appreciation for single service members stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

More than 500 Soldiers and Airmen took part in BOSS' largest event of the year, "Single Soldier Day," held at Apex Karting in Tumwater on Sept. 10. Specialist Monique Miranda, BOSS team member, said the day was a chance for singles to relax and have fun, while proving that support reaches beyond married troops with families.

"They saw that their chain of command was willing to release them for the day, and that really spoke wonders about the military and how it supports us," Miranda said.

Miranda's words couldn't be more true, at least in the eyes of Pfc. Steven Hallmark, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment. Fairly new to the Army, Hallmark has been stationed at JBLM for less than three months. After peeling himself away from the Velcro "fly wall," Hallmark explained that he and a few friends decided to attend Single Soldiers Day in hope of meeting new people.

"The Army seems to me like it's more family-oriented, and it's really good that there are still outside people and organizations that recognize single Soldiers and that want to help us out," Hallmark said.

Private Steve Miller and Pvt. Dorothy Mose of 308th Brigade Support Battalion got adrenaline rushes from racing each other around the facility's state-of-the-art racing slicks. The two took advantage of a free shuttle service transporting troops back and forth between JBLM and Apex Karting.

"When you're in the Army and you're lower ranking like us, you don't make very much money," Miller said. "This is great. They have buses here so you don't even have to use your own gas."

Mose's chain of command suggested she take the duty day off and instead enjoy the event BOSS had planned for Soldiers and Airmen like her.

"Some Soldiers hardly ever leave the barracks, and BOSS gives them an opportunity to go out, meet other people and see what Washington has to offer," Mose said. "I like how the Army has all these different programs for us to take advantage of."

Apex Karting event coordinator Erin Dafoe, worked with Miranda and the BOSS team to provide as many things as possible under one roof for the troops. What couldn't fit inside made its way outside, including bungee cord basketball and jousting.

"We've always supported the troops and wanted to provide an opportunity for them to hang out, relax and really just have a lot of fun," Dafoe said.

Judging by the turnout and grins, Miranda felt their mission was accomplished.

"It's been great, and we've heard nothing but good things," she said.

Laura M. Levering is a reporter with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's weekly newspaper, the Northwest Guardian