GATESVILLE — Civilians from the Gatesville Community coordinated with North Fort Hood, 120th Infantry Brigade, Hood Mobilization Brigade and the 166th Aviation Battalion to host the eighth annual Heart of Texas Salute to Warrior Citizens event here June 23.

The event was free to all Soldiers residing on North Fort Hood while going through the mobilization and demobilization process.

The Gatesville community hosted the event, which entailed a live concert, food and games, all free to the Soldiers who attended. Diana Fincher, event coordinator for the Heart of Texas Salute to Warrior Citizens, acted as the conduit between the local community and the sustainment units at Fort Hood to ensure all units temporarily housed on North Fort Hood were invited to attend the event.

Fincher was proud to volunteer for such an event honoring warrior citizens.

“These deploying men and women are sacrificing time away from their jobs, Families, comfort and community going into harm’s way,” Fincher said.

“Citizen warriors are our quintessential American patriots and deserve our undying gratitude and acknowledgement.”

Fincher coordinates a multitude of events in the Gatesville area, offered to transitioning Soldiers residing on North Fort Hood throughout the year.

Among the Gatesville community volunteers included the Boys and Girls Club, Mustang Heritage Foundation and Troop 201 Boy Scouts of Gatesville.

Volunteers from the Boys and Girls club handed out Frito pies and were happy to support and give back to the community.

Larry Howell, a member of the Mustang Heritage Foundation, presented the colors kicking off the event.

Jody Bartlett, scout master for Boy Scout Troop 201 out of Gatesville, led the troops in their fifth year of volunteering for the event.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the boys to serve the community and see all the Soldiers who serve,” Bartlett said.

The scouts handed out cotton candy at the event. Soldiers from the sustainment units volunteered to setup and help host the event.

Master Sgt. Amy Gosnell, Hood Mobilization Brigade representative for all Gatesville community events, was proud to volunteer and support the event.

“It’s a morale booster and a way for Soldiers to decompress in a fun and safe environment,” Gosnell said. “It’s great cohesion with the sustainment units working side by side with the Gatesville community to support the Soldiers mobilizing and demobilizing from overseas.”

Gosnell worked closely with other representatives from the 120th Inf. Bde. and 166th Avn. Bn. Among them included Capt. James Holmes from the 120th Inf. Bde., who led the event and has also supported three other local events this year.

Soldiers from the 231st Inland Cargo Transfer Company were able to relax and enjoy the free food and festivities.

Sgt. Christina Mejia from Jacksonville, Florida took advantage of the horse-riding attraction the Gatesville community had to offer.

“This turned out to be really fun,” Mejia said.