FORT KNOX, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2010) - Soldiers from Fort Knox's 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) volunteered at Pierce Elementary School's Fall Festival on Friday, Oct. 29th.

During the event, the Soldiers assisted Pierce Elementary in the set-up and tear-down of games, and ran many of them.

The Sustainers, as well as the students, said they had an excellent time interacting with one another and eagerly look forward to the next event.

"I love kids and events like this help bring out the kid in me," said Spc. Jessica Gradney, an Austin, Tx. native and paralegal specialist with the 3d ESC.

Gradney, who plans to own a home to take care of underprivileged kids in the future, saw the Fall Festival as a way to make new friends with both the faculty and students.

"I had a great time and I can't wait to volunteer at Pierce in the future," Gradney said.

The 3d ESC has sponsored Pierce Elementary since returning from Iraq in August 2009, and has provided assistance in many of the school's projects. Over the past year, the 3d ESC has made a concerted effort to give back to the communities that supported them during its deployments to Iraq and Haiti. Supporting Pierce Elementary is just one of the many ways in which the unit has sought to help out in the surrounding communities.

"As always, our students enjoy being around the Soldiers from the 3d ESC. And honestly, we wouldn't have been able to do anything we've done here today if it weren't for them," said Dr. Wanda Bradley, Pierce Elementary principal and Gulfport, Miss., native. "Whenever we need them (3d ESC), they're always there to lend a helping hand and for that, we are truly appreciative."

Bradley said the school is always appreciative to have the 3d ESC assist them in their events. The previous week, Soldiers from the 3d ESC assisted the school by reading books to students. The 3d ESC's past participation at Pierce Elementary included the school's Field Day and Spring Fling.

The Fall Festival comes as a way for Pierce Elementary students to celebrate the autumn season, and also celebrate Red Ribbon Week, which took place Oct. 25-29.

Red Ribbon Week is a way for students to unite and take a stand against substance abuse. According to the National Family Partnership, the Red Ribbon Campaign was started when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique "Kiki" Camerena in 1985.

This began the continuing tradition of displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a drug-free America.