“Providers” thank local communities for support

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, Public Affairs Officer, 13th SC(E)

Killeen, Texas — The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosted a Community Appreciation Reception at Club Hood here Dec. 8 to show the unit’s appreciation to members of the local community for their support of the 13th SC(E) and Fort Hood.

Mayors of local cities, official Fort Hood Good Neighbors, members of local military affairs counsels, school principals, and more were invited to have dinner together and meet with some of the Soldiers they support.

“One of the things that has always struck me about the Central Texas region is how giving the communities are,” Col. Terrence Hildner, 13th SC(E) commander, said. “This is a very special relationship we have between our soldiers and our communities.”

Members of the local communities give their time and money to support the Soldiers of Fort Hood and the 13th SC(E) through everything from fundraising to just showing Soldiers how much they care. People like “The Hug Lady” Elizabeth Laird, who hugs every Soldier deploying and redeploying at Fort Hood’s airport and local business owner Jay Taggart who coordinated with local business to give holiday gifts to the children of Soldiers.

“The community does that on their own time … the least we can do is recognize them,” Maj. Brad Martin, 13th SC(E) secretary of general staff, said.

“I’ve been in the Army 15 years and I’ve never seen a community like this.”

Although members from all over the Central Texas area do their part to support Fort Hood Soldiers and the 13th SC(E), Belton and Temple have a longstanding relationship with the 13th SC(E) through the adopt-a-unit program, Martin explained. Through such relationships communities work with the units’ Family Readiness Groups to make sure the families of deployed Soldiers are taken care of. They also hold military affairs counsels with community civilian leaders and military representatives, like Martin, to discuss ways the community can support the Soldier.

“We are committed to making you feel as much a part of our lives as you make us feel a part of yours,” Hildner told the guests.

According to some guests, supporting Soldiers is a privilege and events like this are opportunities to learn how better to do that.

“Our military makes extreme sacrifices without complaining,” Timothy Hancock, mayor of Killeen, Texas and retired Army command sergeant major said. “They give to the community, give to the community, give to the community, and it doesn’t matter what community they’re in, they’re not selfish.”

Hancock explained that this event, and ones like it, gave him the opportunity to discuss things with other community leaders.

“This is really a great place to exchange ideas … it’s a learning process. Every time I come out I learn something different. You learn not only what the unit may want or need but how other communities are supporting the military.”

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news photoCol. Terrence Hildner, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) commander, speaks with members of the local Central Texas community at a Community Appreciation Reception at Club Hood here Dec. 8 to show the unit’s appreciation to members of the local community for their support of the 13th SC(E) and Fort Hood. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)

 

news photo“The Hug Lady” Elizabeth Laird, who hugs every Soldier deploying and redeploying at Fort Hood’s airport, speaks with a 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier at a Community Appreciation Reception at Club Hood here Dec. 8 to show the unit’s appreciation to members of the local community for their support of the 13th SC(E) and Fort Hood. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)