Story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Quill
43rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office
“Courage” is more than a word for Soldiers; it is an ideal, a way of life and one of the Army Values. Some Fort Carson Soldiers recently volunteered their time and as a result, got to witness a different kind of courage.
About 20 Soldiers from 1st Platoon, 60th Ordnance Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, volunteered to help out at the 2009 Special Olympics Southeast Area Athletic Meet at St. Mary High School’s Grace Center athletic complex May 7.
The idea to volunteer for came from 1st Lt. Samuel Wright, a platoon leader, whose son is autistic and competed in the games. Last year, Wright noticed something.
“Because of a shortage of volunteers, family members sometimes have to do it, and with their children competing, it’s hard for them to also be with their child,” Wright said. “So I thought it would be a great idea for the unit to have our guys come out and take those positions and volunteer, so the family members and teachers could be with the children they were sponsoring.”
The all-schools track and field competition featured more than 150 Special Olympians from 12 Colorado schools. Events included 50-800 meter runs, wheelchair races, the softball throw and shot put.
The Soldiers from the 60th Ord rotated duties throughout the day and helped with everything from event set-up to timekeeping and assisting runners, to presenting awards and event teardown. Along the way, some of them learned a little something about courage.
“I think it’s an eye-opener for the troops to realize there are kids out here who are trying harder than some Soldiers. The determination these kids have really inspires Soldiers to realize that life can be just as simple as these kids putting their hearts into these events. It’s really inspiring,” said Wright.
With the 60th leaving for a National Training Center rotation in a few days, it would have been understandable if the Soldiers had their minds on other things, but their selfless service was gladly extended to the Special Olympians.
“It’s exciting. I’m really happy about being here. There are a lot of people who don’t know what they’re missing by not being here,” said Pvt. Maritza Guzman.
“I have a brother with autism,” said Pfc. Jonathan Pearson. “So I kind of know what it’s like, so I like to help with these kinds of things. It’s nice to see the kids out there enjoying themselves.”
The 43rd Sustainment Brigade actively encourages its units and Soldiers to volunteer. The command doesn’t want to be just another unit on post; they want to be part of the Colorado Springs community.
The 1st Plt., 60th Ord, will use this volunteer effort as part of their brigade Distinguished Platoon Competition, but the real benefit came in learning a little more about courage.