FORT HOOD, TX- Although there was no electricity, residents and workers at Fort Hood Family Housing took the opportunity to light up their communities with the March 15th Brighten Up ERRE Day Community and Park Clean-Up Event.
Once the Energy Resilience Readiness Exercise began, all 11 Fort Hood Family Housing communities began picking up trash in their communities.
“The cleaning went very well. Our teams were able to get out and engage with community residents while they helped clean up community grounds and parks during the outage,” said Chris Albus, project manager for Fort Hood Family Housing. “Residents have also done a great job by getting involved and taking trash bags to community offices in exchange for gift bags.”
Staff Sgt. Christian Nevitt, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and his daughter Saoirse Nevitt, 2, were among the first seen in Comanche III picking up trash and receiving a gift bag.
“It’s tough for parents when you don’t have electricity, and the wind blows a lot of trash through our neighborhood, so this is a great way to keep us entertained and productive,” Nevitt said.
Other Fort Hood organizations were also involved, including the Fort Hood Girl Scouts, who cleaned up the Montague Community Garden in preparation for the spring planting season.
“Organizations have joined to assist Fort Hood Family Housing in the community garden cleanup including DPW (Directorate of Public Works) Environmental, the Fort Hood Girl Scouts, The Community Life NCO of Montague and our valued residents,” called Albus.
Sergeant First Class Donovan Lee, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, assisted with the cleanup effort and helped serve free lunches to parishioners. He enjoyed seeing everyone involved in making their community brighter.
“When people handed in their garbage bags, we gave them something in return,” Lee said of his favorite part of the event. “A lot of people came and brought their bags over. That was the most rewarding part — the kids’ faces that (when) they get a bag.”
After the cleanup, residents were invited to their community centers for a free lunch, where approximately 2,000 lunches were distributed to the communities.
“One of our focal points remains the living experience. We understand the inconvenience that a power outage can cause for families, and with all restaurants on site closed, we wanted to help our residents by providing a light lunch,” said Albus. “We were able to serve almost half of our resident population thanks to Fort Hood VFW’s partnership covering the provided sandwiches.”
Albus was very grateful to everyone who helped make ERRE, the cleanup, and the food distribution run smoothly.
“The preparations for this exercise were a real team effort. We are grateful to our military partner here at Fort Hood who helped ensure we were all prepared,” he said. “I would like to personally thank our entire team at Fort Hood Family Housing for their dedication to ensuring residents were cared for through ERRE Day and during the power outage.”