By Sgt. Cheryl Cox, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsJanuary 3, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - After more than six months of planning, selling and painting, the families of the "Blackjack" Brigade finally put their bricks in place.
Beginning in early summer, the family readiness groups of each battalion with 2nd Brigade Combat Team came together with a plan to unite the units within the brigade.
Each FRG, from company level to brigade level, sold bricks to family members that would eventually be painted and placed outside the company, battalion, or brigade headquarters buildings for the Soldiers who are currently deployed.
"This is a project that I came up with at Fort Stewart during my husband's first deployment in 2003," said Samantha Roberts, wife of Staff Sgt. Tim Roberts, who is with Co. A, 15th Brigade Support Battalion. "At Ft. Stewart, this project started with just my husband's unit and blossomed into a huge walkway for the Soldiers to walk across as they returned from the deployment."
With the project being designed as an internal fundraiser for each FRG, the price of each brick was different based on what they wanted done to it.
"Each unit did something different," explained Laurie Siegel, the Family Readiness Support Assistant for Blackjack Brigade. "Some are paint to look uniform, others had the family members paint them, and some family members had Samantha paint the bricks for them with a specific design."
The culmination of the project was when they were finally displayed in preparation for the Soldiers' return.
"The bricks will remain on display along the walkways till after block leave, when the units will either maintain the bricks and add to them with subsequent deployments or the Soldiers will be allowed to take them home," said Siegel.
As the bricks continued to be unloaded from various vehicles outside the 2nd Brigade headquarters building, Roberts watched with pride as she saw her idea unfold as a huge success.
"This was a simple idea that I had to bring the brigade together and show unity among the units," she said. "It's not a matter of what they did or how they did it, they did it together and we are proud of each and every one of them. It's not about today. It's not about tomorrow. It is just one foot in front of the other because we never know what tomorrow will bring."