News: Providers, Lakewood Elementary celebrate Old Glory Day
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kucera
Fort Hood, TEXAS- At its annual Old Glory Day event, April 11, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) provided color guard honors at Lakewood Elementary in Belton, Texas.
The ESC and Lakewood partnered up through the Adopt-A-School program earlier in 2013.
“Old Glory Day is a patriotic event to get the kids aware of the military around us,” said Lori Hobbs, a fourth-grade teacher and the chairman for the school’s event. “The kids learn about the different military branches, learning about the flag and what the flag means and learning how to show pride in our country.”
Not only were a few Provider soldiers present at the school for the day, local law enforcement visited the school as well as additional special guests. Wounded warriors, participating in the annual Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge, a 350-mile cycling journey from the Center of the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston which winds its way to Fort Worth, Texas, also stopped in on a break to eat lunch and visit with the children.
School Counselor Leah McGuire, who also manages the adopt-a-unit program for Lakewood, said it had been about two years since they had soldiers at the school, so they were more than excited for this day to come.
“I’d really like to see the program get to where it was before. We like having the soldiers out here so much. Tutoring, volunteering to spend time with the kids individually is great, too,” said McGuire. “Learning what it takes to join the military one day is really good for them to hear. Younger and younger we start teaching them about their future after they graduate high school.”
At one point in the morning, about 1,000 parents and friends were present to watch their children sing patriotic songs. For the sustainment soldiers in the color guard, it was a great ceremony and day to be a part of, according to Spc. David Foster, a supply clerk from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC.
“It’s just really cool to be around the kids, they’re all really good kids and the staff here at the school has been great. This is my first time doing something like this, so I’m just happy to be here,” said Foster.
Once the soldiers and supporters riding with the Ride 2 Recovery coasted in on their various design of bikes, things at the school really got busy. With at least 200 active duty troops and veterans riding under their own power, there were also nearly 40 veterans on motorcycles from various regions of the country escorting throughout the entire route.
The children flocked to the riders, as well as the soldiers, to plead for autographs on their “Old Glory Day” T-shirts and even their hands and arms. The constant bright smiles and cheery voices kept these combat veterans, of old and young, fully engaged as they could not take a breath before a little one searched for answers to their questions about anything and everything that had to do with the Army.
“It’s such a good feeling. It just makes you so proud to have the soldiers that we have and how much we have respect for everybody,” said Hobbs. “I’m just proud to be here, proud to be free and it’s just such a great way for the kids to learn the same.”
The students then rotated through various classes taught from the soldiers, Morgan’s Point Resort Police Department and Bell County Sheriff Department. They spent time learning about K-9 operations from the police and the Soldiers discussed the M-16A2 rifle, along with other topics that concerned the young audience.