HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Materiel Command Equal Employment Opportunity office participated in and supported the Read Across America program at a local elementary school here, March 2.

Soldiers participating in Equal Opportunity Leadership training course at Redstone Arsenal took a break from class to step into the classrooms of University Place Elementary school to read to youngsters.

The Soldiers dispersed to classrooms with other volunteers from across the city which also included several AMC civilians.

"We are all about trying to touch people. We are all about trying to raise awareness and educate. And where does it begin' It has to begin with the youth," Sgt. 1st Class Lance Green, instructor of the Equal Opportunity Leadership Course 11-02 said.

Roughly 23 Soldiers read a book to students and answered questions from curious students too.

Interacting with Soldiers is a rarity in Huntsville despite Redstone Arsenal being nearby because of its largely civilian and contractor personnel.

"You always hear how the Soldiers protect and how they serve but you never have an opportunity to actually shake someone's hand and say thank you. It is because of their dedication that we can lead the lives that we live in America," said Towana Davis, University Place Elementary Principal.

Davis presented certificates to Green and Lt. Col. Raymond Lindsey, AMC executive officer.

"I think this probably one of the most amazing experiences that an educator could have," said Davis. "It's not every day that you actually get an opportunity to interact with the Soldiers especially on the level they are coming into your building to read to your students."

Read across America celebrates the importance and awareness of reading annually on the birthday of Dr. Seuss.