At Western Hills Elementary School in Temple, soldiers from the 157th Quartermaster Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, volunteered to help with the refurbishment of the school’s stage Jan. 31.

“We are here today to put a polyurethane finish on the front of their stage which they had stained and we are here to finish that,” said Sgt. Matthew Boss, the company’s Adopt-A-School liaison. “We also came out to see if we could interact with some of the students, read to them, and just have some fun with them.”

Since the beginning of the school year, company soldiers have been volunteering their time at Western Hills in various ways.

“We’ve done several different things. We did a career day where we brought several different pieces of our equipment out including the Laundry Advanced System and opened it up to let the children look at it. Sgt. 1st Class Lopez was a guest speaker that went from class to class talking to the kids about his uniform of Improved Body Armor and Kevlar and told them what soldiers do.

The soldiers visited the school during the week of Veterans Day and raised the flag outside the school. But it didn’t stop there. The soldiers have helped during class room hours by reading with the students and have even conducted a physical training session at the school.

Angie Blackwell, the school principal is grateful for the opportunity to have soldiers come out to the school and be a part of the mentoring of her students.

“I think this is a fantastic partnership,” she said. “The soldiers are here quite often and have been doing lots of things to include physical training, hopefully they will be helping the kids design a garden, been involved in the classrooms and have even eaten lunch with the kids.”

Blackwell said that the school’s theme for the year is everyday heroes and having the soldiers in and around the school really enhances that theme.

“The teachers are their heroes, too, but whenever anyone from our adopted unit comes out and the kids see them in uniform they love it and I think that is so important for them to see our heroes here on campus,” she said. “We do have some kids here that want to be in the Army, so for them to see their heroes is amazing,”

Blackwell is impressed with the school’s adopted unit, and is impressed at how much they want to be part of her school and are always eager to help out in any way possible. She said she looks forward to working with the soldiers in the future and hopes they can continue to make strong bonds.

“I have told the soldiers they are welcome here anytime and they can treat this like their second home,” she said. “We truly appreciate the time our soldiers are putting in to volunteer with our kids because these kids are our future.”

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