Fort Hood playgrounds will soon receive shading to protect against excessive summer heat thanks to a donation made to the Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army by H-E-B officials.

Ed Page, H-E-B director of retail operations for Central Texas, Johnny Mojica, H-E-B area public affairs and community coordinator and several local store managers presented a check for $60,000 to AUSA Fort Hood Area Chapter president Stephanie O’Banion during the local chapter’s meeting at Club Hood on Nov. 15.

H-E-B officials visited the installation during the summer and met with Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, the III Corps and Fort Hood commander.

“A few months ago, we had the opportunity to meet with Lt. Gen. Funk, who brought a bunch of us H-E-B folks up here to Fort Hood,” Page said. “(We) got a chance to tour a lot of the facilities on base and said ‘Look, what is it that we as a company at H-E-B could do to help all of you folks here?’”

Page said Funk informed him the playground equipment on the installation needed shading because of the high temperatures during the summer.

AUSA member retired Maj. Gen. Ken Cox said Funk determined after consulting with Fort Hood families and soldiers across the installation, that the playgrounds needed the shades.

“As you can imagine in the summer time the equipment is smoking hot, the chairs where the moms might sit are hot, and so the playgrounds were underutilized,” Cox said. “H-E-B corporation went back and said, ‘We’ll commit $60,000.’”

Cox said the AUSA chapter is now working to obtain a grant that is tied to these types of projects that will match the dollar amount donated, as well as apply donated funds from the chapter to the project.

Johnny Mojica, the H-E-B area community coordinator and a board member of the local AUSA chapter, said the grocery company is a strong supporter of military members and their families.

“The children are on hot, blazing metal during the summer and so (the shades) were just one request that we were able to hear from Funk,” Mojica said. “In true H-E-B fashion, we were able to secure the funds to make this happen.”

Mojica said H-E-B hopes to have a celebration party with the military families once the playground shades are built on Fort Hood.

“We are just so proud to be able to partner with AUSA to help make this a reality,” Mojica said.

Mojica also said H-E-B features events throughout the year ranging from monthly Fort Hood runs to sponsoring a tragedy assistance program for survivor’s event in February.

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