News: 1st Cavalry Division, KISD strengthen partnership
Story by Staff Sgt. Johnathan Hoover
FORT HOOD, Texas – Killeen Independent School District administrators took a field trip to Fort Hood hosted by the 1st Cavalry Division to build on a long history of partnership with the local community schools.
KISD is always looking to build and enhance the existing relationship with Fort Hood, said J.J. Johnson, the director of Student, District and Community Relations for KISD. The administrators were here to get a little slice of what occurs daily on base.
“I’m calling it the Fort Hood Field day,” said Johnson, a native of Yorktown, Virginia.
All the leadership from more than 50 campuses in the district are here, said Johnson. Also, the various units from Fort Hood have adopted all of the campuses in the district.
The day consisted of a demonstration by the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment, a trip to the air assault course, lunch at the Operation Iraqi Freedom Memorial Dining Facility, and a visit to the Warrior Skills Training Center and Medical Simulation Training Center.
A large number of the children who attend KISD schools are from Fort Hood, said Ramona Bellard, the executive officer to the superintendent for KISD. The visit really helped the administrators see what the children’s parents do on a daily basis.
This definitely tightens the relationship with the community, said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Felix, a native of Long Island, New York. They are teachers who take care of Soldiers’ children, and this brought the administrators into the Soldiers’ world.
“I think when you see a Soldier, you see someone with a job and someone that has something to do,” said Nancy Duran, the principal at Meadows Elementary School on Fort Hood. “You don’t really appreciate or sense the sacrifice that comes with that job until you see them doing it.”
Duran said when a Soldier puts on his identification tags and uniform, he puts on a commitment that can’t be taken off.
It opened some people’s eyes as to what Soldiers do, said Felix, an escort for the administrators and the fire support noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team “Black Jack,” 1st Cavalry Division.
“It paints a clearer picture in your mind,” said Bellard. “You hear about things, read about things, but when you are physically there to see it, you have a better understanding of the sacrifices that the troops make, and it really comes closer to home.”
Seeing the instructors and the way they communicated with the Soldiers going through the air assault course, you see the level of detail that is paid to their safety, said Duran.
“I am terrified of heights, but if they would have let me, I would have repelled,” said Duran, a native of Pensacola, Florida. “For me to be afraid of heights and say I would be willing to repel is a big, big deal but I feel I would be in good hands with those instructors.”
This was an unforgettable day for the administrators, especially the ones who have never been here before, said Bellard.
The school administrators are great people, said Felix. They were fun to be around, enjoyed themselves, and were blown away by the experience.
“Every administrator that I have talked to has said, ‘This visit has been worthwhile,’” said Johnson. “The day has been fantastic!”
Felixsaid, “It was a great experience for them, and I was happy to be a part of it.”