Dressed as Santa Claus impersonators, elves and reindeer, 435 participants dashed through Fort Hood Saturday morning.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted a free Jingle Bell 5k Dash at Abrams Physical Fitness Center.

After the fun-run, there was an ugly sweater contest and a turkey raffle.

Cherise Luis, assistant/cashier and event coordinator, said the run allowed families a fun and stress-free holiday outlet.

“It let them have some fun on post – let them have some stress-free fun, especially around the holidays,” Luis said. “They get to come and enjoy, meet new people and just have a lot of fun.”

Luis said recreational events on Fort Hood allows Soldiers, veterans and their families to spend time together without having to leave the installation.

Luis, a 10-year Army spouse, said for Christmas she wants to spend time with her family.

Kayla Little, also a 10-year Army spouse and Soldier and Family Readiness Groups volunteer, for 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, participated in the dash. The spouses wore coordinating elf costumes, winning the category for “most creative,” during the ugly sweater contest.  

This is the fourth 5k the SFRG spouses have participated in together. Little said the recreational events boost morale, fitness, stress relief and community relationships.

“To bring us together, to lighten up the workload,” Luis said about the dash. “It gets us out there and gets us to do something fun.”

The ladies took advantage of the dash, while their husbands stayed home and took care of the children.

“This one was free, which was a plus,” she added.

Luis said the Army has relocated she and her family four times 1st Cavalry Division twice at Fort Hood. Luis shared that it’s important to build community relationships in the military.

“I mean, there is a lot of support out there, because a lot of times, if we move to a new duty station and we don’t plug in immediately it can become very lonely and then you’re a single parent for nine months at a time,” she said. “The loneliness of doing it by yourself.”  

Luis, who has built relationships and friends in the Fort Hood community, said DFMWR events provide Soldiers with fun opportunities.  

“They can meet other Soldiers and find out about other activities going on around post that get them out of the barracks,” Luis said.