By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD - Duncan Elementary School hosted a career day Friday for its students. Among those who attended and gave presentations about their jobs were local firefighters and soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment.

Students kicked off the day with a series of parades through the school where they wore costumes representing anything from veterinarians to musicians to cowboys to scientists.

Assisting the students, teachers and staff with the event were soldiers from the 1st Cavalry's Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Duncan is the battalion's Adopt-a-School Program partner, and about 10 soldiers were on hand to help during career day.

Soldiers from the battalion have visited Duncan this school year to read to students and help during its field day, said 1st Lt. Bart Heffron.

The soldiers' presence at the school could be comforting for students whose parents are deployed, said 1st Lt. Beau Butts. Because the school is on post and the students are children of those who serve, they are comfortable seeing people in uniform, he added.

The soldier volunteers have often been mistaken for parents by children who see the familiar Army Combat Uniform and assume it is mom or dad, something Butts has experienced while visiting other schools.

The children need support, said 1st Lt. James Martin, and the soldier volunteers' presence can provide that paternal or maternal influence.

Sgt. Christopher Saunders' 5-year-old son attends Duncan, and Friday was the first time he visited the school as a volunteer. It made him feel good to help at his son's school, he said.

In other Adopt-a-School events, III Corps is set to host students from its partner, Eastern Hills Middle School, next week for several days of events that include physical training exercises and a headquarters tour. Students also will conduct a video teleconference with deployed III Corps soldiers.

The Adopt-a-School program has connected Fort Hood soldiers and area schools for more than 10 years. It "contributes military resources and services to schools in order to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of children in the greater Fort Hood area," according to information from Fort Hood.

The program also "increases public awareness of the Army's mission" and fosters good relations, and each Killeen Independent School District school has a Fort Hood partner unit.

For more information on Fort Hood's Adopt-a-School Program, go to http://pao.hood.army.mil/adopt.a.school.aspx.

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