By Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley

15th Sustainment Brigade

public affairs

Soldiers of 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, celebrated Hispanic Heritage month on Oct. 15 with an event that included singing, dancing, a guest speaker and food at the Clear Creek Community Events Center.

The annual Hispanic Heritage month celebration began in 1988 to commemorate the achievements and culture of Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. and is observed from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15.

This year, the event’s theme was “Getting Involved: Our Families, Our Community, Our Nation.”

Lillian Lewis, a ballroom dance instructor, and her husband Michael Lewis showed the soldiers some Hispanic culture with their display of the rumba and the cha-cha.

Spc. Mercedes Stripling, an 81st Adjutant General (Postal) postal clerk performed the Hispanic folk song “Nino-Presisio.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Fernando Rodriguez-Ramos, the III Corps Noncommissioned Officers Academy commandant and Isabela, Puerto Rico, native, was the event’s primary speaker.

Rodriguez said he didn’t want to give the audience a history lesson or series of statistics. Instead he wanted to talk about what Hispanics can do for their country and communities.

“We have not come far enough. We have so much more to give,” he said.

One out of every seven Americans is Hispanic, according to Rodriguez, which could be considered a significant percentage.

“Our responsibility is huge … the contribution that we should be (making) for this country should be commensurate with that number,” he explained.

Rodriguez encouraged Hispanics and everyone else to better themselves and pursue higher education.

Rodriguez is expected to receive a master’s degree Dec. 12 and one of his sons is scheduled to graduate with a bachelor’s degree Dec. 13.

“I beat him by a day,” he jokingly gloated.

Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade’s commander, said he didn’t know what the unit would do for Hispanic Heritage month next year, as this year’s event was “exactly right.”

“Everyday we try to get a little bit better in the 15th. That’s our motto, that’s the mantra,” Phelps said.

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