The Option House Emergency Youth Shelter in Killeen received a spring makeover thanks to the rear detachment of the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade. About 15 of the company’s soldiers spent about three weeks painting, repairing fences and beautifying the facility.
“They really made an impact on the agency, as well as the kids who come in here,” said Rose Marie Amian, shelter director.
The shelter, which falls under the Central Texas Youth Services Bureau, provides children, ages 3 to 17, with a temporary place to live when their own home is no longer suitable.
“Our mission is to provide the basic needs for kids, youth and young adults who are homeless or on runaway status,” Amian said.
Abuse, neglect, family violence and other domestic problems are common reasons for a child to be placed in the house, she said. “We are trying to give them a sense of a safe and comfortable environment that is encouraging and motivating.”
Amian said the soldiers’ hard work has made a big difference.
“(The house) just was not pretty,” she said, laughing at its “before” status.
Sgt. 1st Class Scott Tate, the rear detachment noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the group, said he’s proud of his soldiers.
“As military police officers, most of our job involves interacting with the community. Helping the community in this capacity is the least we can do, while the rest of our unit is doing their mission elsewhere,” he said.
Soldiers painted, sanded, sorted clothing, repaired appliances and built shelves, among other tasks.
“I love my job — the main reason I joined the military was to help people,” said Sgt. Matthew Lanuto. Volunteering at the shelter has been an extension of that.
Lanuto said he and his fellow soldiers divided out the jobs based on skills.
“A couple of guys are good with wood-working, a couple of us are good at painting,” he said. “One guy patched up a fence that was falling apart.
“As a whole, it definitely brought our guys together 100 percent; I’m happy that we did something good,” Lanuta added.
To keep soldiers properly fueled during the volunteer work, Sgt. Reginald Howard offered to cook since a back injury kept him from physical labor.
“I’m a single parent so I can cook,” he said. Four-cheese lasagna and shrimp and chicken fettuccini alfredo are just two examples of his prowess in the kitchen.
“We had fun helping out here,” Howard said. “What better way to help out the community than to come to a place like this that really needs it?”