Blake Vroegindewey, 7, and Mary Lou Christiense, 7, participate in a game of tug-of-war at the Warrior Transition Unit’s back-to-school party Aug. 22.

When Col. Douglas Woodall assumed command of Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit in July, both he and wife Paulette saw a need: increasing family involvement among the unit.

“A critical component of care is family, and sometimes (caregivers) are so focused on care that they themselves take a backseat,” Woodall said. “We wanted to increase visibility and connection between the families.”

On Friday, the couple organized a Family Day, both as a commemoration of the end of summer vacation and as a method of pulling families and soldiers out of their daily routine to meet others in similar situations.

“We wanted to do something a little different for the families so that they could know that there is someone out there in their shoes,” Paulette Woodall said. “People can get to know the commander and leaders, and spouses can meet other spouses.”

Children enjoyed hot dogs and lemonade, as well as various adaptive sports activities to give them an idea of what their parents do in training. Backpacks with school supplies were prizes.

“Everybody is usually concentrating on getting themselves better,” said Master Sgt. David Cathers, of the WTU. “This breaks up the same old thing they do every day.”

It also was a final opportunity to let off steam before the school year began.

“We want them to have fun and relax before school starts,” said April Griffith, family readiness support assistant. “(Being in the WTU) can be very isolated, and events like these let them know people care. That’s important on both sides.”

Conta​ct Erinn Callahan at or 254-501-7464.

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