By Sgt. 1st Class Jason KuceraJune 4, 2012
KILLEEN, Texas-Throughout the 2012 school year, units across Fort Hood sponsor various elementary, middle school and high schools in the Fort Hood and Killeen communities. 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) puts their efforts towards the students, parents and faculty of East Ward Elementary in Killeen.
With many school initiatives and sponsored events, Phantom Support soldiers spent their own personal time tutoring, helping with field days and handing out food for the school's monthly food drives. The unit never directs its soldiers to volunteer their time, they only put the information out there and the Soldier is able to do what they want with it.
On June 30, the school year was wrapping up and just like with most school events, a 13th ESC soldier was present. First Lt. Michael Maternick, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC company commander, showed up with 70 books ready to be donated and a speech to give the fifth graders of East Ward.
The school had recently asked the unit what they could do for the students at the end of the year to support their summer reading program. Maternick knew right away what he wanted to do. The unit was able to purchase "Oh, The Places You Will Go," by Dr. Seuss, to give to the fifth grade class. But before handing them over, he wanted to add one more thing. Maternick had the books distributed throughout the large company's footprint having soldiers sign their names plus an inspirational message for the kids.
Maternick gave a speech to the entire class prior to presenting the children with the books. Asked about why he chose this particular title, he said "it's a motivational book no matter how old you are. It's age immaterial, it's something tangible these fifth graders can take with them as they progress into middle school. It's a book about choices, which all of these children will be facing."
He also noted how much it meant to the students, parents and faculty of the elementary school to have Phantom Support soldiers present all year long.
The 13th ESC will continue to sponsor East Ward through the 2012-2013 school year, as well.