TEMPLE — More than 150 Fort Hood soldiers were treated to a barbecue lunch courtesy of the Temple Chamber of Commerce Sept. 17 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center in Temple.
The chamber’s Military Appreciation Luncheon takes place annually and serves as the kick-off for the chamber’s military toy drive for the holidays.
“I think you agree with me that we have the greatest military force on earth, all volunteer,” said Jim Granfor, chairman of the chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, in his opening remarks. Granfor complemented all services for their contributions, and made sure the audience honored veterans and those who currently serve with several rounds of applause.
There is a long-standing history and cooperation between the city of Temple and soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade and 13th Sustainment Command, said Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., the commander of the 13th and the event’s keynote speaker.
“The most important part of this event is to have the opportunity to talk with each other,” LeMasters said.
He challenged participants to talk to the soldiers in the audience and ask them questions about their backgrounds and the Army.
“It’s all about getting to know you and getting to know us,” he said
“These soldiers here today represent not only the Army, but the future of our great nation ... our all volunteer Army is an example for other nations.”
LeMasters also talked about budget cuts, the new Defense Strategy Guidance and force restructuring.
“Let me assure you, that the senior leaders of our Army are looking at these challenges,” he said.
First Lt. Sherry Klander, an operations officer from the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Sustainment Brigade, said her unit issued a memorandum to let soldiers know about the event.
“It was great; it was an awesome experience to see community support,” she said.