In 2019, the Sentinel’s Living section shared countless “herotastic” stories. Here are five stories about Fort Hood’s civilians, veterans, Soldiers and families — Fort Hood’s Heroes.
In February, Mommy and Me Sweetheart Tea hosted by the USO at the Oveta Culp Hobby Soldier and Family Readiness Center, provided free food and arts and crafts to mothers and their children on Valentine’s Day.
Center Operations Supervisor Kathryn Valenzuela, has worked at the USO for over a year and said she feels privileged to be able to make personal connections with military families.
“Often times a service member is dad, and he is busy at work and its Valentine’s Day, and mom is home with kiddos, so let’s get them out of the house, let’s get them networking with each other,” Valenzuela said. “Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about husband and wife ... anyone can be your Valentine.”
Comanche Chapel hosted Vacation Bible School in June, with more than 270 preschool through 6th grade children, and more than 110 volunteers.
VBS had children divided into five flows — preschool, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, 3rd and 4th grade and 5th and 6th grade.
Stacey Wilson, religious education coordinator and pastoral coordinator, said that the mission of VBS was to teach children about God. The lessons and activities during VBS were all interactive.
“If you plant a seed at a young age, it stays with you, it sprouts up, even more when you get older. Then you share with others, and then others are interested and waiting to learn, ‘Who is this Jesus person? I want to learn about him,’” Wilson said. “So if we train children young, it becomes a seed planted in them and that stays with them throughout their life.”
“One in four women and one in nine men experience sever intimate partner physical violence,” 1st Sgt. Tavares Bethel, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, a Domestic Violence Interactive Training instructor, said.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Fort Hood’s Army Community Family Advocacy Program hosted Domestic Violence Interactive Training throughout
the month of October.
The training had three scenarios and open discussions. During the training Bethel said that domestic violence can be physical or mental.
“This training is very, very, important to establish a culture of education to make us aware of the severity of the problem, and then those things that we can do to help mitigate it,” he said.
Bethel said that domestic violence in America requires full attention from everyone.
“In America every minute, 20 people experience intimate partner violence — 20 people per minute,” Bethel said. “We have been here now about 30 minutes, so during the time period that we just sat here and witnessed this training 600 people in America have been affected by domestic violence.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Soldiers
The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program hosted their annual Single Soldiers Festival in October at the Fort Hood Stadium.
The festival had free pizza, non-alcoholic beverages, more than 15 different games and activities, prizes, food trucks and alcoholic beverages for purchase. Smart TVs, Fitbits, jerseys and portable speakers were given away.
“The purpose of today’s event is to get Soldiers to know about BOSS,” Spc. Zackary Smiley, BOSS president, said. “The opportunities that we have — the events that we do and also just to get them out of the barracks, get them away from work for the day, give them a chance to relax, and meet Soldiers from other units.”
The BOSS program is built off of three pillars: enhancing quality of life, community service and recreational and leisure.
The BOSS program not only provides opportunities to network and travel, but the program gives single Soldiers a sense of pride in their community.
“Also, we provide community service opportunities so that we can give back to Fort Hood and the community around us, which give the Soldiers a feeling of accomplishment,” Smiley said.
Holy Spirit Captain
In July, the Fort Hood Garrison Chaplain’s Office celebrated the 244th U.S. Army Chaplain Corps’ birthday at Main Post Chapel, with live Christian music and free lunch.
Chaplain (Col.) Brian Chepey, the new Fort Hood garrison chaplain sang and played guitar with his band during the celebration.
Authorized by the Continental Congress in 1775, July 29 celebrates the birthday of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.
“Our chaplain assistants have been there, not just with me, but for me, in some very personal and powerful ways,” Chaplain (Col.) Steve Moser, First Army Plans chaplain, said during the celebration. “So I just want to start off by saying thank you to our religious affairs specialists.”
Moser spoke briefly on the background history of the Chaplain Corps, saying that as long as the military has existed, chaplains have served alongside Soldiers, providing for their spiritual well-being and morale. Moser said that since 1775, more than 25,000 U.S. Army chaplains have served.
“We put them in touch with the divine. We put them in touch with God.” Moser said. “And that is so desperately needed in all of our lives.”
Moser also said that currently the Chaplain Corps has over 3,000 chaplains and 3,000 religious affairs specialist, representing over 130 different religious organizations.
Chepey said that chaplains work towards three essential goals.
“We nurture the living, we care for the wounded and we honor the fallen,” Chepey said. “The essence of ministry, of bringing god to Soldiers and family members during those times of need.”
There will be plenty of opportunities for heroic moments throughout 2020 and the Sentinel will be there to capture the joy, the laughter and the touching moments in the lives on those on Fort Hood.