Richard Colon, of Texas Veteran Land Board, left, talks to Holly Doggett about the company Friday during the Hood Howdy event at Fort Hood.

FORT HOOD — The Army Community Services and Fort Hood Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted the first Hood Howdy event of the year Friday.

This is the 23rd year Fort Hood has hosted the biannual event.

More than 100 organizations from the military installation and surrounding communities participated in the event, which drew more than 1,500 attendees. Twenty-five companies also took part in a mini job fair, with some — such as H-E-B — conducting on-the-spot interviews.

“We also partnered with the 21st Replacement Detachment this time,” said Michelle Irwin, Relocation Readiness Program manager for Army Community Services. “We have about 300 new people come (to Fort Hood) a week, so this is a great way to welcome them to the community.”

Representatives from the Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove chambers of commerce were on hand to talk about opportunities in the area, Irwin said.

“This is for families, soldiers. ... They could have been here for 10 years, but they can come here and learn something new,” she said. “It’s for them to get familiar with the organizations, nonprofits, the sponsors we have in the area, new businesses — so they get the chance to meet them.”

H-E-B attends every Hood Howdy event to promote what the grocery chain offers to those new to the area, but with the opening of a new store on Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen coming up, the company decided to set up a second booth at the job fair to interview prospective employees, said Johnny Mojica, H-E-B area community coordinator.

“We’re just highlighting the different departments and we’re talking about the new services, like curbside service where you just pull up to the side of the store and don’t even have to get out of your car,” Mojica said. “We have numerous positions we’re trying to fill.”

One salty soldier was amazed with the amount of information available.

“This is awesome — this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to integrate with the community itself,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Pearson, 61st Quartermaster Battalion command sergeant major. “We’re fairly new here, so we’re kind of walking around and seeing some of the things they have to offer around here.”

Pearson said he thought it was a great event. The 26-year soldier said he’d never been to a military installation that offered an event as large as the Hood Howdy or one that was highly publicized to the soldiers.

“I pushed it out to all my soldiers and a lot of my soldiers are here right now,” he said. “Again, this is just a great opportunity for everybody.” | 254-501-7554

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