Capt. Juan Hernandez, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Sustainment Command, delivers donated school supplies to East Ward Elementary on Friday. His company donated more than 200 pounds of school supplies to their adopted school during a supply drive held throughout August.

Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson, 13th SC(E) PAO

KILLEEN — Soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command visited East Ward Elementary on Friday with bucket-loads of school supplies donated by the unit’s soldiers.

During the summer months, soldiers from the command’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company donated more than 200 pounds of school supplies for their adopted school.

“We are in the military and we have our mission down range, but at the same time we also have a mission and a responsibility to the communities that we serve,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sidney Babineaux, the unit’s adopt-a-school liaison. “These kids are our future leaders.

“It is important that they receive the most from us that we can supply, be it with the school supplies or coming in during the school year to coach, mentor, tutor, or just spend time with these kids, we’re here to help these kids.”

In addition to donating the school supplies, Babineaux said the command will continue to volunteer and support the school through various programs including before and after school mentorship programs, book reading and field trip chaperone support.

Killeen Independent School District “does a lot for these kids,” said Robert Butler, assistant principal for East Ward Elementary. “But we can’t fully support our kids without our adopted units.

“A lot of the support that we rely on is the mentorship these soldiers bring to the children. Sometimes all a child needs in his life is a strong adult role model to help encourage him or her to continue their studies and succeed in school — that right there is more priceless than anything.”

With classes in session the following Monday, Babineaux said he’s excited to spend time with the East Ward Eagles.

“I’ve learned a lot from the kids last year,” he said. “These kids are fantastic. I’m humbled every time I come out here to the school, because even as a grown man, a child can always teach you something if you pay attention.”

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