BELTON — The gleeful excitement of children carried through the gentle spring breeze.
Students cheered as teachers, parents and volunteers screamed alongside with delight. Although the fun did not take place in a kingdom, their school was the happiest place on Earth.
Twenty-one Soldiers and leaders from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, participated in Field Day at their Adopt-A-School, Lakewood Elementary May 24.
Field Day is an annual school event and this year’s theme was Disney. Each of the 19 stations and decorations centered around well-known Disney movies.
Lakewood Elementary first-year Coach Daren Ramesar, an Army veteran who recently retired after 22 years of service, helped put the event together and was excited for what the day had to offer.
“It’s a day to celebrate the students and their accomplishments in a fun, relaxed environment with their friends and Family,” Ramesar said.
The students and teachers sported custom-made school Field Day shirts with the Mickey Mouse trademark outline, with many teachers wearing Mickey Mouse ears as well.
“This is a fun day for teachers and students,” Angela Mikeska said, who has taught at Lakewood Elementary for 17 years. “The kids get to play and show camaraderie with their classmates.”
The school is part of a Belton community that wholeheartedly supports Soldiers and their Family members, and this event afforded Soldiers the opportunity to repay them for that sentiment.
Pfc. Kyle Abke, 13th ESC, was in charge of the “Tangled” tug-of-war station. Abke comes from a Family with a long history of military service, and volunteered as soon as the opportunity arose.
“I wanted to give back to the students,” Abke said. “It’s a good image for the Army and it feels good to give back.”
Along with the Soldiers, Jonah Jimenez and other members of the Belton High School football team, also volunteered their time.
“I went to elementary school here and wanted to come back to this event and help out,” Jimenez said.
His teammate, Jeremiah Wade, shared a similar excitement.
“When we did our first Field Day, it was so exciting,” Wade said. “I wanted to make sure they had fun too.”
There were a variety of fun activities for the students to enjoy, from the “Under the Sea” water slide, the “Wreck It Ralph” wrecking ball station and the “Tigger Training” potato sack station, but Lakewood Elementary first-year coach Holly Parker had a feel for what the students enjoyed the most about their day.
“I think they just liked having an entire day to be active and have fun all day long,” Parker said. “That would not have been possible with the help of the Soldiers and volunteers so we really appreciate it.”
Lea and Jason Hanson have had students enrolled at the school for the last four years and Jason, who is an Army captain with First Army Division West on Fort Hood, appreciated the help from other service members.
“It’s good for the students to see Soldiers helping the school,” Jason said. “For me, seeing them lets me see how much we are involved in the community.”
After the “Last Incredible Dash” relay was ran and the last students exited the “Off to Neverland” playground, everyone could reflect on the day and how great it was.
“It was a huge honor to have the Soldiers participate in our event,” Ramesar said. “The students loved interacting with the parents, staff and Soldiers and we look forward to having our Adopt-A-School at our next event because it also allows us to show our appreciation to the Soldiers as well.”