USO Fort Hood’s Discovery Big Construction Day sent 58 children and their parents into overdrive when they saw the lineup of trucks and construction vehicles at the Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division’s motor pool, July 15. DPW hosted the event and provided a tour, explaining the purpose of each of the 10 static displays that featured an excavator, scraper, bulldozer, grader, recycle truck and more.

“This event was for active duty service members and their families to come out and see some of the big construction vehicles operated here up close,” said Benjamin Griffin, center operations and programs manager for USO Fort Hood. “We put these events together so that folks can take a breath, relax and enjoy something fun to do outside the normal day to day operations of life.”

As families like, Katie Lubischer and her sons arrived and signed in, children were gifted a construction hat, safety vest and bag to take along with them on the tour.

“USO puts on awesome events and we love attending,” Lubischer said. “The kids absolutely enjoyed it, and couldn’t wait to get out of the car the minute they saw everything.”

Griffin explained that the Big Construction Day event is a part of the USO Discovery program to provide active duty families programs and memorable, impactful experiences.

“Part of our mission is to support the service members and their families throughout their service to the nation,” he said. “It’s not simply about hosting things or doing a hand out, but it’s an experience. If we can do that, take time to talk to kids and connect with them on their level, then we are doing a good job.”

Tony Lynch, engineering heavy equipment operator for OMD, guided a group of children and their parents emphasizing the importance of safety when operating any type of equipment or tool.

“You’ve got to learn how to operate the small things like pencils and scissors,” Lynch said, as he pointed to a scraper. “If you can do that safely, thenn when you grow up, you will be able to operate something like this and be safe too.”

For Jamie Hernandez, the USO Discovery event was a first for her and her daughter.

“These events are great, especially being in the military,” she said. “It’s nice to go out and do these activities. It lets kids have fun at special events that they wouldn’t be able to normally do outside the military.”

Edie Bautista also attended with her three kids and enjoyed the opportunity for kids to see all the big trucks up close.

“DPW did a great job. They were very knowledgeable and interacted great with the kids,” she said. “USO does a great job doing things for the community, and it’s great to relate with other people who are going through the same things as you are and enjoy these experiences together.”

The event concluded with Griffin presenting OMD staff with a certificate of appreciation for hosting Big Construction Day.

“At the end of the day it is about raising morale and making sure that people feel connected to their families,” Griffin said. “Thank you for helping us to build those connections and thank you for all the vehicles, time and effort each of you put in to make this event possible.”