By Bob Mathews, Family and MWR MarketingSeptember 24, 2010
FORT STEWART There's no place like home.
But for a Single Soldier far from home on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, being at the home of a Family who opened their doors and hearts to them would be the next best thing.
The Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield is looking to pair Families and Soldiers on both of the holidays under its Adopt-a-Soldier program.
The registration window for Soldiers who want to participate and Families willing to welcome them begins Oct. 4.
"We want these Soldiers to be able to enjoy a Family atmosphere and to get to know members of the community better," said Staff Sgt. Phillip G. Phinisee, vice president of BOSS. "We'd also like to give members of the community an opportunity to get to know our Soldiers better and learn more about them and what they do."
Soldiers who have participated in the past appreciate good, home-cooked food served up along with Family conversation and the fun of just "hanging out."
"It was pretty awesome," Spc. Rodney Sears said, describing the food at the Pooler Family home where he and two other Soldiers were guests last Thanksgiving. Specialist Sears is with 226th Quartermaster Battalion, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade.
While he loved the food, getting to spend time with the Family was tops for Spc. Sears. "The best part of the day was hanging out, getting to know someone and just having a good time."
He said he plans to participate in this year's program.
Chris Dent, Recreation Delivery System coordinator and BOSS Program Manager, said church groups, civic or other organizations are welcome to host a Soldier or Soldiers for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
"We will welcome everyone who wants to participate," Dent said.
Staff Sergeant Brian Dove, 92nd Chemical Company, was a part of the group visiting the Pooler home of the school principal. A priest joined them for the dinner.
"We talked and enjoyed football. She cooked a huge meal," Staff Sgt. Dove said. "I can't say what the best part of the day was for me, because the whole experience was very good."
The BOSS Adopt-A-Soldier effort to encourage Families to welcome a Soldier or Soldiers into their homes for the holidays is not a part of the 3rd Infantry Division Adopt-A-Soldier program founded by Carol Megathlin of Savannah. The 3rd ID Adopt-A-Soldier program is a grass roots effort to connect directly with Soldiers who are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Families or others in the community who would like to host a Soldier or Soldiers on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day are asked to call 912-767-9917. Soldiers who want to take part also are asked to call that number.
Dent said BOSS coordinates pairing Families and other hosts with Soldiers for one or both of the holidays.
The registration window for Thanksgiving is from Oct. 4 through Nov. 4. The registration window for Christmas is Oct. 4 through Dec. 3.