News: Soldiers give ‘aid’ to local students, school
Story by Spc. Derek Nelson
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The first day of summer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord started as another grey, overcast Northwest day. But that didn’t seem to deter JBLM Soldiers from going out to play. Some got soaked, some got dirty, but they all received the smiles and gratitude of the children beside them.
Members of the 520th Area Support Medical Company and the 47th Combat Support Hospital dedicated their time, knowledge and energy by volunteering at Tillicum Elementary School’s Field Day, June 21.
According to Taj R. Jensen, the principal of Tillicum Elementary School, field day is an annual event that brings students closure to the school year. It’s a fun time for kids and their families. And this year, for Soldiers too.
A typical field day layout involves a circuit of stations usually including events such as a sack race, an obstacle course or a water balloon toss. This year, however, there was a new event: an Army aid station.
Soldiers from the 520th ASMC brought out a field litter ambulance and set up a station that gave the students an insight into Army medicine.
“We set up a small example of what we do for a battalion aid station with some of our equipment,” said Staff Sgt. James Morris, 520th ASMC. “We even brought out an FLA so they could see how our ambulance operates.”
Students were treated to tours of the ambulance, equipment demonstrations and some lucky few were even treated to a ride bundled up on the Skedco. A Skedco is a device similar to a sled in which the patient has the Skedco strapped tight around them and is pulled along the ground by Soldiers utilizing a rope handle. The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy the demonstrations as did the Soldiers who gave them.
“We have a lot of fun coming out here,” said Spc. Travis W. Hatfield, 520th ASMC. “It’s great because it lets the kids see that there is something better about the Army than a lot of people get exposed to. This is a lot of outreach that we do and it really helps with our public image.”
While Soldiers of the 520th were busy showing students some of the intricacies of Army field medicine, Soldiers from the 47th CSH were providing support at the 13 other physical activity stations located around the field.
“These kids kind of look up to us and see that we are real people,” said Spc. Gerald C. Thomas, 47th CSH. “For them, it’s just the little things like running around and having fun. They were even amazed at something as small as how far I could hit a ball.”
Field Day is one of the many, gratifying ways that JBLM service members are continuing to build strong relationships within the local community. The school also offers an after-school mentor program allowing servicemembers to partner with local students throughout their education.
It was clear at the end of the day that both parties had made a huge impact on each other. The children had reminded the Soldiers how to take joy in the little things in life, and that becoming a Soldier doesn’t have to stop you from being a child at heart.
For more information about the after-school mentor program, Soldiers can contact the Tillicum Elementary School or visit the Community in Schools of Lakewood website at http://www.lakewood.ciswa.org