FORT BLISS, Texas - Units from across Team Bliss expressed their creativity and generosity Monday by participating in the annual Team Bliss Thanksgiving food basket drive, held at the newly-opened Fort Bliss Trading Post.
“Each unit had specific items they were asked to donate,” said Nina Carey, coordinator for the YMCA Junior Enlisted Family Center. “Each year we are able to get more and more donations through everyone’s generosity.”
The displays were judged on creativity, theme and unit pride.
Examples of this year’s displays included “Winter Wonderland” from the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, an over-sized “Hershey Kiss” from the U.S. Army Dental Activity, a replica helicopter and “air drop” from the combat aviation brigade, a rustic storefront made out of pallets and the units new puppy mascot, Chester, from the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and a western theme from the 15th Sustainment Brigade.
The ”Wagonmaster” brigades theme included the use of a saddle and branding iron, along with bales of hay and items commonly associated with the Old West, said Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Biggs, the brigades Mortuary Affairs non-commissioned officer.
That theme proved beneficial, as the 15th SB was able to turn last year’s third place finish into the first place trophy this year. They were not the only ones who stood out that night however.
“There was a lot of creativity here today,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip D. Pandy, Fort Bliss Garrison command sergeant major. “You can really see the units took a lot of time and effort in what they did.”
The creativity displayed was not the only highlight of the day; as through all of the unit donations, this year the Junior Enlisted Family Center will be able to help more than 1,400 Fort Bliss families have better Thanksgiving meal than expected.
“This is a great example of showing what we do to take care of our own,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley, command sergeant major, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss. “There is no better feeling that giving to someone else.”
That sentiment was shared all in attendance that day.
“This is an internal way of the Army showing we are all family,” said Biggs. “As you move up in the ranks, you remember where you came from. Something like this is the perfect way to give back.”
1st Place – 15th Sustainment Brigade
2nd Place – Combat Aviation Brigade
3rd Place – 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command