13th SC(E)-Cove Continue Tradition: Texas Style
by Pfc. Crystal Eldridge
13th SC(E) Public Affairs
Members of the Copperas Cove Military Affairs Committee hosted an appreciation barbeque for Soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at the Copperas Cove Civic Center June 29.
The event, which began as a small, informal event at the home of Ed and Lorette Rhode, has been held annually for approximately 50 years, said Jerry Smith, head of the Cove military affairs committee.
"This is kind of a tradition around here," Smith continued, "(to) say hello to friends at Fort Hood."
After Smith's initial welcome to Soldiers and guests, members of the committee served steaks right off the grill. Soldiers and members of the Cove community sat side-by-side, eating and talking like old friends. The dining hall of the civic center had the roar of a high school cafeteria.
When everyone finished their meals, Copperas Cove Mayor Roger O'Dwyer welcomed members of the military to the community.
"I want you to always feel welcome in this town," the mayor said. "The people here like you all. We want you here."
Knowing of the 13th SC(E)'s imminent deployment, O'Dwyer continued.
"I wish you well in your endeavors in the Middle East," he said. "Spouses (of Soldiers) and family members, (Cove's citizens) will be here to support you."
Following his speech, the mayor presented the key to the city to Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general of the 13th SC(E).
Marty Smith, president of the Cove Chamber of Commerce and wife of Jerry Smith, then presented "The State of Texas," a miniature representation of the state, to Terry's wife, Kathy.
"We welcome you guys," the Chamber president said following the presentation. "We thank (Soldiers) for all you do."
"Most of us are retired military," she continued, "(so) we'll support you any way we can. Anything we can do for you, we will do it."
Terry thanked the committee on behalf of all the Soldiers in the 13th SC(E).
"I thank you for what you do for us," the commanding general said. "Copperas Cove has really been great to us - very giving to our families and our Soldiers.
"Central Texas is patriotic, fairly conservative, very supportive of Soldiers and families, true to their word… " Terry continued. "It's about giving. I've never seen so much support as here in this community."
Terry took time to tell the committee members and guests how proud he is of the Soldiers under his command. He spoke of the youngest generation of Soldiers who enlisted post-9/11.
"They knew they had a greater than not opportunity to deploy to defend America," Terry said. "These young people keep coming in!
"I'm humbled and proud and awed to be part of this organization… "
The president of the Chamber of Commerce followed Terry's speech, once again speaking highly of the Soldiers of the 13th SC(E) and asking the members of the Cove community to continue to support the Soldiers on Fort Hood.
"You know this is going to be a long war," she said. "We have to keep supporting our Soldiers. We need to support them in every way we can. We need to be there when they come home.
"We're here because of Soldiers. Always remember daily what they do for us."
Marty Smith, right, president of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, presents a miniature 'State of Texas' to Kathy Terry, wife of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, comander of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), at the military affairs-sponsored appreciation barbeque June 29 in honor of the 13th SC(E) and its Soldiers. (U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge)
Woody Shemwell, member of the Copperas Cove military affairs committee, prepares and serves steaks for Soldiers of the 13th SC(E) June 29. (U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge)