FORT HOOD — April Fool’s Day began with a celebration of spring, military life and military families during a grand opening of the garden center at the Clear Creek Main Exchange.

Saturday’s event honored the sacrifices, teamwork and dedication of those fighting, or have fought, for our country’s freedom.

Activities included test drives of the latest lawn equipment with a free T-shirt and hat with Troy-bilt MTD products, and a meet-and-greet with Chad Prather, a motivational speaker and comedian.

The event also featured an introduction of coops for troops, a therapy technique for post-traumatic stress disorder, and Rent The Chicken, a mobile coop that brings life to raising chickens.

The goal was to provide an atmosphere of appreciation and inspiration for the military community.

Sandra Reed, a veteran from Harker Heights, is the store manager and coordinator of the event.

“We need the military community to know we are always here for them; this is how we support them,” Reed said.

Prather said, “It matters — what you do, in your service, it matters. We are thankful. Your sacrifice is appreciated.”

Retired Army veteran Mike Stacher, 42, of Gatesville, spoke of his love for Fort Hood.

“Coming to Fort Hood always makes me smile. This was my first duty station and now I live here.”

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