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    Fort Bliss soldiers, Dick Poe sponsor birthday party



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Gilberto Garza 

    1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment “Rifle”, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team “Ready First”, 1st Armored Division in conjunction with the 3-41 Family Readiness Group and The Dick Poe Motors Family of Dealerships recently co-sponsored the March Monthly Birthday Party for the children at the Lee & Beulah Moor Children’s Home. The celebration, which included a Driving Simulator designed by Scion, basketball games, face painting, music as well as food and snacks was held at the home, March 5. Gifts were provided for the children celebrating birthdays this month as well as toys and “goodie” bags for all of the children.

    More than 40 “Rifle” soldiers were on hand assisting with the set up, as well as helping to serve food and drinks. They were also able to take a break from their duties to join in a pickup game of basketball with the kids. Members of the 3-41 FRG were on hand as well providing face painting and also assisted with the set up and decoration of the gym.

    “Rifle” soldiers were recently adopted by The Dick Poe Motor Family of Dealerships after having been re-flagged from 1st Battalion, 37th Armor as part of the “Ready First” conversion from an Armored Brigade to a Stryker Brigade. They were informally adopted by the dealership when the unit was deployed to Iraq from November 2009 – November 2010.

    Jim Thomas is the Senior Administrator for Development and Activities at the Lee and Beulah Children’s Home and has worked there going on 18 years. “These kids are here because their families are going through some sort of crisis, they’re not bad kids,” said Thomas about the children.

    He went on to explain the services provided which are in three fold: The Foster Care Program, where the kids live in the community with foster parents; The Adoption Program, which also includes pregnancy counseling; and finally an On Campus Program where the children live in cottages on campus 24 – 7.

    Lt. Col. Geoffrey Catlett, the “Rifle” commander, said “We’re here reaching out to the community trying to show our gratitude for all the support we get from El Paso by giving back.”

    John Luciano, general manager, Dick Poe Family of Dealerships agreed saying “That’s exactly why we’re here. We’re just proud to be partners with (Lt.) Col. Catlett and his crew that we sponsor his battalion and we just have so much fun with them.

    Catlett went on to say “We think it’s important to reach out to the community to show that the soldiers of the United States Army are appreciative of the folks, people… citizens of El Paso for all the hospitality, all the great things they’re doing for us and my battalion is a part of the community. We are not just passing through. We feel like we are El Pasoans too and we want to do what we can to help.”

    The home is in its 52nd year of operation and is actually owned by the families and children of El Paso. It opened its doors in December of 1959 from a Trust Fund and land left by Lee and Beulah Moor as a gift to the families and children of El Paso. It operates using resources within the community, funds generated off of the land and also donations. Many of those donations come from the Sergeant’s Major Academy and other organizations on Fort Bliss.

    “It’s a great example of the people of El Paso taking care of the people of El Paso” said Thomas. The home is believed to have served well over 20,000 children.

    There is not an accurate number mainly because detailed records in the early years were not kept and records of foster care kids are not always kept as well. There are currently 65 children in the On Campus Program and over 40 in the Foster Care Program ranging in age from 1 month to 18 years old.



    Date Taken: 03.01.2011
    Date Posted: 03.09.2011 10:24
    Story ID: 66717
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 

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