By Staff Sgt. Joe Armas, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. PAOOctober 27, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - A day filled with gloomy weather couldn't dampen the spirit and determination of Soldiers and family members from the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, who participated in a food drive, held in conjunction with a family fun run, in Killeen, Texas, Oct. 23.
The battalion took the opportunity to take part in "Make a Difference Day", a national day of community service. The idea was to have a 5- kilometer run along with a one-mile family run and use food donations as registration fees, though donations were not limited to those who participated in the 5 km or one-mile events.
The donations, which ranged from shoes, canned goods and toiletries, were sent to the Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, located in Copperas Cove, Texas.
"There are many other people in our community other than ourselves who are less fortunate, and we should never forget about them," said Lt. Col. Blake Alexander, originally from Decatur, Texas, battalion commander for 3-227, 1st ACB.
Alexander said the command's intent was to have an event that would build camaraderie among the ranks in the name of a good cause.
"Our battalion just recently returned from deployment, and in the process of re-setting the force, many Soldiers have gone elsewhere and there are now many new faces in the battalion" said Alexander. "This event was a chance for some of the new Soldiers and family members to get to know each other, have a good time, and do something that would have an impact on the community."
For one of the event organizers, the event was a chance to hone that mutual bond shared by Fort Hood and its surrounding communities.
"The local communities that surround Fort Hood have always been supportive of us, and this was a chance for us to give back," said Nicole Kitchen, the treasurer for the battalion's family readiness group.
With the holidays around the corner, Kitchen hopes that the goodwill displayed by the Soldiers and family members ultimately makes a difference.
"We're hoping that we made a pretty big impact, especially with Thanksgiving approaching," said Kitchen. "We had about two truck beds filled with food donations that were sent to the Cove House, which was a lot more than what we expected."
The battalion actually donated a total of 240 pounds of food items to the Cove House, according to Benjamin Tindall, the executive director of the Cove House.
Aside from the food drive and the running events, the day included a chance for some of the family members who were smaller in stature to take part in a "kids physical fitness training" session.
The children, while waving their arms back and forth, did their best to stay in step as they marched in formation to a designated area of the park that was set up for their exercise session.
There, the children, along with a few motivated parents, proceeded to crab walk, do push-ups and sit-ups, and finally sprint to the finish line. After a tumble here and there, some children opted to take on the course more than one time, while most parents chose to sit back and enjoy the action.
In the end, the threat of rain along with overcast skies could not deter those involved from coming together as a team and working to brighten the day for those less fortunate.
"We are blown away by the efforts of everyone and we are very appreciative as well of everything they have done to support the Cove House," said Tindall.