By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff WriterDecember 26, 2012
Soldier Appreciation Day was held Dec. 13 at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Community Center. Sponsored by Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation on JBM-HH, the event attracted about 300 Soldiers.
The community center was abuzz with conversation as Soldiers enjoyed listening to a disc jockey playing popular, upbeat music, while everyone feasted on a barbeque-style lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, hot wings, fresh vegetables, fruit, chips and a variety of desserts.
JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter and Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Y. Lavender visited with the servicemembers during the luncheon, taking time to address the group.
"This is your day," Lavender said, as she addressed the Soldiers at the community center. "It takes a lot to join the Army these days. You know what you're getting into when you raise your right hand … and I want to thank you for what you do." She also told everyone BOSS was all about Soldiers and what can be done to make their lives better. Lavender is the senior enlisted advisor for BOSS on JBM-HH.
"Way back in the day, I used to be you, and I know what it feels like to not have the support because we didn't have BOSS, there was no such thing," Sumpter said. "What I need everybody to do today, in addition to receiving the food and the great prizes, is help the BOSS program, and specifically my command sergeant major, make this the best BOSS program in the Department of the Army."
Sumpter told the Soldiers, "You will always have my support and any resources I can lend to the BOSS program, you will get personally from me."
Sumpter also recognized BOSS members with a commander's coin for their outstanding work with BOSS. Coins were presented to Spc. Erika Williams, BOSS president; Spc. Danielle Belizaire, BOSS photographer; Staff Sgt. Daniel Hood, BOSS disc jockey; Spc. Julian Johnson, BOSS set-up and cooking and Spc. Dwayne Green, BOSS "Iron Chef."
"I think this was a very nice turnout, very well put together," said Sgt. Dustin Higgins, HHC Regiment, S6 (information technology). "BOSS here puts on a lot of good programs and is about as squared away as you can get."
"I thought this was a nice chance to sit down with my friends, eat and just chill out. The food was also very good," said Pfc. Sabrina Thomas, 289th Military Police Company. "BOSS is a great way to meet new people on the installation you've never seen before and interact with them in a relaxed environment."
Sgt. Deante Tharp, also with 289th MP Co., agreed with Thomas. "There are a lot of single Soldiers who hang out by themselves. BOSS gets people out of the barracks and gives them the opportunity to meet new people and socialize more," he said. "BOSS [also] plans a lot of trips and it's good to get out, see the sights in the area."
"This annual BOSS get-together was to show appreciation to all the Soldiers for all they do year-round, and it was awesome," said LeRoy Harris, DFMWR community center manager and BOSS advisor. "BOSS is engaged in three pillars -- community activities, recreation and quality of life. With that in mind, we try to schedule recreation programs Soldiers want. This year, we were able to support the [Fort Myer] thrift shop, go to New York City and visit Ground Zero, as well as have a paint ball and laser tag competition," he said.
In addition to the luncheon, Harris said some Soldiers also participated in a spades tournament.