GATESVILLE — First Army Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade and the 1460th Transportation Company soldiers took part in the Gatesville Holiday Parade on Dec. 14 on a float with holiday ornaments and a “Kandahar Bound” banner.

Twenty Michigan National Guard soldiers from the 1460th, out of Midland, Mich., walked alongside and rode the float while tossing candy to parade spectators.

They will be deploying soon and activities like this help boost soldier morale.

“The city of Gatesville is a big supporter of the United States military and our Army guys,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell Burns, observer-coach/trainer for 120th’s 2nd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment. “They’ve helped us a lot and we want to help them by participating in their holiday parade.”

Burns said part of the 120th’s job is to understand and help with soldiers’ morale.

“They are here on North Fort Hood anywhere from 10 to 70 days before they deploy, which can bring the morale down to a lot of soldiers who are far away from home, especially during the holidays,” he said.

This will be the first deployment for some of these soldiers.

Diana Fincher, a chairperson of First Baptist Church in Gatesville, and Carla Manning, Gatesville Chamber of Commerce board member, Fort Hood Good Neighbor, and a Gatesville Military Affairs representative, volunteered and assisted in providing a trailer and decorations for the float.

“It means everything to be able to somehow show our appreciation and spend some time with the soldiers because they come from all over the country and they are here without their families,” Fincher said. She also said that she wants to be able to provide some normal time for the soldiers before they deploy.

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