Attendees munched cookies and snagged freebies including T-shirts, cups, koozies and fliers galore at the bi-annual Hood Howdy.

Katie Meves was one of hundreds who attended the event, designed to welcome newcomers to the community and showcase the Great Place’s offerings.

“I got to Fort Hood in September, and they made me (family readiness group) leader at my first meeting,” she said, holding a stack of fliers and brochures. “Our soldiers are coming home soon and not all the spouses are here yet. I want incoming spouses to know what’s available in the area.”

The job fair stood out as a highlight for Meves.

“It was really interesting ... a lot of companies offer soldier/spouse preference. It’s really neat that companies are willing to work with us,” she said, citing the resume gaps military spouses often have to explain when seeking employment.

In the main ballroom, Fort Hood Zumba instructors performed dance moves to pop music and handed out information regarding Fort Hood physical fitness center classes.

Shannon McRae, of Army Community Service, recommended classes for spouses new to Army life.

“Army Family Team Building courses give you a better idea of Army life,” McRae said. “The course teaches the acronyms (and more).”

Additional ACS course offerings to best help newcomers include resiliency training.

“It gets people out of the house, gets people to meet people,” she said.

Beside her, Melody Squires, highlighted the free services offered by Financial Readiness Center.

“We want people to build wealth, not debt,” Squires said. The center features courses on budgeting, investing and debt management, along with cost-free counseling services.

Lewis Bell found the mini job fair, featuring about 20 companies, helpful. He is seeking an information technology job once he completes schooling this spring.

“I’ve had a few prospects so far,” he said of Hood Howdy. “Right now, I’m still in schools, so the job search has been slow.”

Along with presenting Fort Hood agencies ranging from military health services to recreation on-post, the event featured state services and local and national companies. New residents could peruse the options for local banks, realty companies and educational institutes.

Contact Madison Lozano​ at or 254-501-7552.

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