'Wagonmaster' Soldiers reach out for Make A Difference Day

By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas Soldiers from across the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), reached out to the community through a variety of projects in support of this year’s Make A Difference Day.

Make A Difference Day is a national day of helping others that occurs every year on the fourth Saturday in October.

This year, “Wagonmaster” Soldiers participated in a number of events, including fundraisers for schools, helping with a school dance and helping out in a Killeen retirement community.

Soldiers from the brigade’s Special Troops Battalion helped the students of Clarke Elementary, their adopted school, put on their sock hop, a 1950s-themed dance, Oct. 23.

On Oct. 25, about 20 Soldiers from across the 180th Transportation Battalion reached out to the local community by assisting members of a Killeen retirement community.

The Soldiers did many of the things that may have been difficult for the residents to do alone, including pulling weeds from flowerbeds, washing windows and cleaning ceiling fans, said 1st Lt. Elaina Hill, the battalion’s adjutant and event coordinator.

Hill, a Fairbanks, Alaska, native, said it was important to volunteer and give something back to the community, especially to the retired citizens.

One Soldier explained that her 67-year-old grandmother needs some help sometimes, and she wants to try to help others like her.

“Sometimes it’s impossible for her, maybe somebody will go over there and help her out,” said Spc. Sonia Rodriguez, ammunition specialist, 664th Ordnance Company. “Maybe what I’m doing right now for them, [somebody] could do it for my grandma.”

Rodriguez said she tries to volunteer whenever she can, because she was raised to believe helping others whenever possible is important.

“It makes me feel like I’m a better person,” the San Antonio, native said. “Like I’m doing something good.”

On Oct. 27, members of the 49th Transportation Battalion presented a $500 check to the Meredith Dunbar Elementary School in Temple.

According to Lt. Col. Pete Haas, the battalion’s commander, the money was raised through two events, a carwash and a dunk booth, earlier this month.

“We had a little fundraiser a few weeks ago,” He said.

Haas went on explain to the children at the school that the Soldiers in the 49th had the opportunity to put him in a dunk booth, where the Soldiers would throw a ball at a target, if they hit it, he went in the water.

“I sold a lot of tickets,” Haas joked.

According to Haas, the money raised for the school was to help fund field trips for the students, including a 4th Grade trip to the Capitol in Austin.

It was the first trip to the school for Spc. Charlene Ahrens, of Battle Creek, Mich., and Spc. Tyecia Smalls, of Florence, S.C., two Soldiers with the 49th who helped coordinate the fundraiser, but they said they will be participating more at the school now that they’ve seen what it means.

Ahrens explained that volunteering gives Soldiers an opportunity to get away from the normal routine of working, whether it be in an office or a motor pool, and spend some time having fun.

“It makes you feel good,” Ahrens said.

 

Lt Col Pete Haas and Command Sgt Maj Ricky Knox with Wanda Reynolds
Lt. Col. Pete Haas, the commander of the 49th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Knox, the battalion’s senior noncommissioned officer, present a $500 check to Wanda Reynolds, the principal of Meredith Dunbar Elementary School, Oct. 27 at the school in Temple. The money was raised by the battalion as a part of Make A Difference Day, the national day of helping others, and presented to school to help fund field trips. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

Lt Col Mark Paget
Lt. Col. Mark Paget, the commander of the 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), cleans the window of a townhouse in Killeen Oct. 25 as a part of the battalion’s contribution to Make a Difference Day, the national day of helping others. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

Maj Derrick Corbett
Maj. Derrick Corbett, the deputy commander of the 180th Transportation Battalion, pulls weeds from a flower bed at a retirement community in Killeen Oct. 25 as a part of the national Make a Difference Day. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)