In front of soldiers and children, law enforcement officers, educators and child advocates, Fort Hood leaders officially recognized the military’s youngest members.
In the East Atrium of III Corps Headquarters on April 3, Brig. Gen. Dean Milner, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, proclaimed Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child.
He referenced a proclamation to the Fort Hood community that Lt. Gen. Mark Milley signed before the ceremony.
Reading the proclamation, Milner said “the Fort Hood community renews their commitment to the prevention of child abuse and neglect while celebrating the military child by promoting healthy families, protecting children and engaging all components of the community.”
The event signaled the start of more than 100 activities planned in the month of April at Fort Hood and in adjoining communities to provide fun for families and information for parents.
For a complete listing, go to http://www.hoodmwr.com/promo_events/MonthoftheMilitaryChild/MOMCcatalog.pdf
Lampasas High School freshman Christian Scheller spoke of the challenges of military children.
He said children in his position are referred to as “military brats,” but pointed out that he and others like him move to multiple duty stations and endure numerous deployments.
“I’d say I’ve been cooperative and helpful,” Christian said to the laughs of the heavily military audience.
Killeen High School senior Madalene Smith read a poem called “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law that pointed out the longtime reward of life’s temporary challenges.
“This is a great inspiration,” Madalene said following the ceremony. “Hopefully families can participate (in the many planned events).”
The events include family fun days, story times, car seat inspections, bingo, crafts, a 5K walk and run, book giveaways, a fitness day, parenting classes and more.
Leaders from the post’s Family Advocacy Program and Child, Youth and School Services emphasized the parenting resources available to families.
“We are celebrating the military’s youngest members,” said Sky Clarke, a Fort Hood school liaison officer, noting students’ courage, sacrifice and resilience.
In his remarks, Milner pointed out that child abuse impacts the whole community and that providing for the health and safety of children is first a parent responsibility, but often requires support.
David Woodberry of East Ward Elementary School’s Communities in Schools and vice president of the Bell County Child Welfare Board said the annual emphasis is important for awareness.
“Kids are our future,” he said. “Soldiers fight for us overseas and they also fight for our kids. This is about caring for children and helping them grow up. They go through so much.”