FORT HOOD, TX — Oftentimes, living on a military base may feel isolating, and if you’re a community member you might think of the post as an island of its own.
This morning, soldiers and community members alike strived to break the gates of separation and bridge the gap one cigarette bud at a time.
Ebony Todd and her 9-year-old son spent the early hours of the morning picking up old cigarette buds and empty bottles near the Bernie Beck Gate of Fort Hood.
"We around, we meaning, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Nolanville, Belton, Harker Heights, we have a duty to support Fort Hood," Todd said.
Those from the community joined Fort Hood soldiers and the Central Texas chapter of the Association of the United States Army to come together to de-litter the roadways around the area.
"Fort Hood is not just Fort Hood," Edward Wright, a soldier said. "We got the surrounding area of Killeen as well, so if we’re not taking care of our neighbors around us, we’re just doing ourselves no justice at all."
While picking up trash is an honorable thing to do, the morning was more about connecting those on-post with people who oftentimes are looking in.
"To get every culture bonded together, you have to do things together," Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne of III Corps and Fort Hood said. "This is just one event that shows we can do things together as a community.”
The event was a part of a new program the AUSA launched two months ago. The program helps military personnel find their place in life when they decide to retire the camo.
”We want to be able to take that soldier or that family member and link them with someone in the community that’s had success in that field and help them," Kelly Brown, the president of Central Texas chapter of AUSA said.
At the end of the day, Ebony Todd wants to remind Central Texans of a few things:
"We are loving, we are caring, we’re veterans, we are volunteers, we are, we’re great and we’re better together," she said, smiling.
Folks dutifully cleaned around the post from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. leaving not one cigarette bud behind.