News: 13th ESC provides support to East Ward Elementary
Story by Sgt. Steven Schneider
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gave up some of their free time in order to help distribute food to families of children attending the East Ward Elementary School, Killeen, Texas, Jan. 19.
The help provided is part of a current 13th ESC initiative to strengthen its relationship with its adopted school and continue to help children by providing positive role models, said 1st Lt. Michael Maternick, the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC.
“It’s great to be able to come out and help support those who help support us on a daily basis,” said Sgt. Gabriela Pastran, communication security assistant in HHC, 13th ESC. “It shows the kids they have someone who supports them, and it gives them someone to look up to.”
Pastran, who passed out bags of potatoes, said she enjoys giving back to the community and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they see a soldier.
“It’s almost like a celebrity to the kids when they see a Soldier in uniform,” said East Ward Elementary School Vice Principal Doretha Meissner.
She said the children get very excited when they see the soldiers walk through, and that it is important to have troops come visit because it gives the students someone to look up to.
“When soldiers come here and build relationship it means so much to the children,” Meissner said. “They’re always asking, ‘when are our soldiers coming back?’”
The soldier volunteers feel they can help influence the students in a positive manner.
“This shows them the right thing to do is to help one another,” said Spc. Nickolas Oliver, a paralegal in HHC, 13th ESC. “So when one day they’re in the spot to do the same for others, they will do the same.”
Maternick said the 13th ESC partnership with the elementary school continues to expand and improve.
“Doing things like this shows that we care, and that as soldiers, we have time for the community,” he said.
The vice principal said the soldiers help definitely has an uplifting effect.
“They teach them about pride, and [that] they can succeed and go forward,” she said.