Make a Difference Day

Story by Maj. Jay R. Adams
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

13th Corps Support Command Soldiers make a difference everyday.

They put in long hours in extremely tough, dangerous conditions.

From the sands of Iraq to the swamps of Louisiana, COSCOM Soldiers don the uniform to serve fellow Soldiers, Iraqis and our country in general.

Saturday, COSCOM Soldiers took off their uniforms, donned civilian work clothes, and turned their efforts to helping dogs, cats, kids and their communities as part of Fort Hood's Make a Difference Day.

Make a Difference Day is a national program sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine which operates as part of the 1,000 Points of Light Foundation, said Kim Parker, Fort Hood's Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator.

The USA Weekend website notes that "in 2004, 3 million people cared enough about their communities to volunteer on that day (Make a Difference Day) accomplishing thousands of projects in hundreds of towns."

Soldiers and their families from the COSCOM headquarters and subordinate units tackled projects ranging from painting a bike route for the Comanche Child Development Center on Fort Hood to repairing the kitchen in the Senior Citizen Center in Copperas Cove.

COSCOM's 1st Medical Brigade and 49th Movement Control Battalion got an early start at helping at the Comanche CDC.

"They got here before me," said Iris Davila, the CDC Program Director. "They were fantastic and eager to work."

Davila said the COSCOM Soldiers were cleaning the playground, painting the walls, cleaning and organizing sheds and "painting a bike route so the kids don't bump each other so much."

The bike route and bike parking places will help kids learn to follow rules and develop better organizational skills, said Davila.

The family of Sgt. 1st Class Gary Newman, a preventive medicine specialist with 1st Medical Brigade, came out to "change the community," said his son Matthew, 14, as he pulled weeds from the sand box. "(The kids) won't have to play in grass anymore, they can play in sand."

"It will be cleaner and there will be more room," added Newman's 6 year old son, Zachary.

A few miles away, Soldiers and family members from the COSCOM headquarters converged on the Second Chance Shelter.

Outside, dog runs were lined with sand to provide a cooler, more comfortable environment while inside, walls were repaired and painted.

"I think it's great that they are out here on their day off," said Beth Robinson, a Harker Heights resident and Administrative Assistant at the shelter.

Puppies chewed up the walls and the Soldiers fixed and patched them up, said Ginger Smith Holmes, a shelter manager. This makes it much homier for the dogs.

"We love to have people come out to volunteer, even if it's just to play with the animals," said Smith.

In Copperas Cove, Soldiers from the 64th Corps Support Group did repairs at the Senior Citizen Center while Soldiers from the 4th Corps Materiel Command landscaped the Families in Crisis Shelter in Killeen.

The 49th also conducted a canned food drive for the Copperas Cove Homeless Shelter.

Make a Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October.

The Second Chance Shelter is located at 5501 Clear Creek Road and is open seven days a week. Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or adopting a pet may call 526-6200. Additional information may be found at


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Sgt. First Class Gary Newman and his son Matthew weed a sand box at the Comanche Child Development Center on Fort Hood. Newman and his wife Kelly (pictured) brought their whole family to Make a Difference Day Saturday. Photo by Maj. Jay R. Adams, 13th COSCOM PAO

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Make a Difference Day