Set to retreat from the cold and rain March 26, a second-grader at Meadows Elementary School convinced his teacher to stand firm in support of heroes.
In its annual support of the Ride 2 Recovery bicycle ride across Texas that passes through Fort Hood, the students and staff of Meadows lined Tank Destroyer Boulevard and 27th Street outside their school.
As students waved flags and banners in preparation for the 200 or so riders to pass by, the cold rain started and several classes went inside.
Second-grade teacher Jennifer Holcomb, a longtime Meadows staff member who has never missed the event said she was torn about whether or not to lead her students inside until she heard second-grader Franklin Ewekay.
“He looked up at me and said, ‘Soldiers never give up, even in the rain,’” Holcomb said.
Her class stayed, along with several others, waving, cheering and high-fiving the cyclist soldiers riding past the school en route to North Texas.
“The kids were so disappointed and they said why can’t we stay,” Holcomb said. “I have some new students who had never seen it and they really wanted to support the soldiers.”
This year, the 1st Cavalry Division Band joined the Meadows group, setting up in a grassy area near the school sign. A large contingent from the school’s adoptive unit, the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, lined the school, too.
“It’s moving,” said Holcomb, in her 20th year teaching at Meadows, a 60-year-old Killeen ISD school that sits on the edge of Fort Hood near the Mayborn Gate.
“Every time is just as moving as the first year we did it,” the teacher said.
Rayshundra Davis, a third-grade teacher also stood in the cold rain with her students cheering the cyclists, including a personal friend.
“It was really cool,” said Davis, a new teacher at Meadows. Family friend, Capt. David White of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., is a wounded warrior participating in the 490-mile ride.
“It was great because (students at Meadows) are part of the military community,” she said. “To have this exposure is good for them. They see we continue to support soldiers after they are wounded.”
“We stood on the sidewalk and waved our flags and showed our signs,” said third-grader Braeya Thomas. She said her class sang the “Star-Spangled Banner,” chanted U-S-A and high-fived soldier riders.
“We wanted to support them,” Thomas said. “We were happy to see them getting exercise and healing. I think they are special and we should thank them every year.”