|Warrior Battalion Soldiers help the Special Olympics
Source: By Staff Sgt. Michael Leslie, 120th Inf. Bde., 1st Army Div. West
Fort Hood Sentinel. 11 December 2008
Warrior Battalion Soldiers help the Special Olympics
By Staff Sgt. Michael Leslie, 120th Inf. Bde., 1st Army Div. West
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 393rd Field Artillery Regiment, 120th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Division West, volunteered their time Nov. 14-15 along with other Fort Hood Soldiers and Family-member volunteers to support the Special Olympics Bowling Tournament that allowed special athletes a day of fun at the lanes.
“It was one of those rare opportunities where everybody was a winner,” Lt. Col. Robert Cain, commander of the 3-393rd FA Regt., 120th Inf. Bde., 1st Army Div. West, said of his Soldiers’ participation in the 19th annual Special Olympics Bowling Tournament.
“It’s very important for Fort Hood Soldiers to give something back to the local community,” said Staff Sgt. Susan Carter, president of the Fort Hood Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program.
“Due to unit deployments, training cycles and individual units’ missions,” she added, “this is not always possible. The Special Olympics allowed our Soldiers a chance to do just that.”
Before the athletes’ arrival, all volunteers attended a training seminar conducted by Cody Meredith, Special Olympics Waco Area Director. The seminar included discussion of the Special Olympics, interacting with the children and supporting their needs.
All the Soldiers donned bright orange BOSS T-shirts to identify them to their charges.
Then came the moment of truth as the athletes arrived.
“When I first walked into the tournament the Soldiers and kids seemed afraid of each other.” said Bernine Coleman, an assistant teacher with the Temple Independent School District.
Coleman has 15 years of experience supporting the area Special Olympics.
“Then when the bowling started, the kids and Soldiers took to each other laughing, cheering and high-fiving each other when one of the kids bowled,” Coleman said.
Nearly 300 athletes attended the two-day event as Soldiers and Family volunteers coached and cheered for their special athletes, whether they hit pins or threw a gutter ball.
“It’s not about working with the kids. The kids having fun, that’s what it’s all about,” said Capt Arterry Cooper, commander of Battery B, 3-393 FA Regt.
“This was a day when we (Soldiers) got to work with a very special bunch of kids and make them smile.
“That makes us heroes of a different sort,” said Staff Sgt. Walter Combs. “For a little while, we were able to be more than just Soldiers; we were able to be kids ourselves.”
Meredith said the 19th annual Special Olympics Bowling Tournament was a success.
The Soldiers agreed the event was successful and enjoyable.
“After our training mission supporting the Soldiers of deploying units, this event allowed our Soldiers to show their support and some real warrior heart, as our Soldiers came here and supported these kids.” said Command Sgt. Maj. Steven J. Rosales, the Warrior battalion sergeant major.
The 3-393 FA Regt. is part of the 120th Inf. Bde., a unit that consists of Soldiers from active and reserve components and the National Guard mobilized and stationed at Fort Hood in order to train units deploying overseas in support of the Global War on Terrorism.