By Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
TRINIDAD — Students in Trinidad had an opportunity to interact with Soldiers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, when the troops visited their schools, March 4, 6 and 7.
“Warhorse” Soldiers took time away from training at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site to visit children in kindergarten through 12th grade, answer questions, read books, eat lunch and participate in recess.
“I think when we visited the children it was a very good day for them,” said Sgt. Matthew Olah, radio operator maintainer, Company B, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT. “They enjoyed it immensely; they were all smiles, giggles, hugs and high-fives. It was (as) exciting for them as it was for us.”
The Soldiers agree that volunteering in the community is important.
“I believe Soldiers can make good role models,” said Sgt. 1st Class Laura Barillas, battalion human resource noncommissioned officer in charge, 2nd STB. “Some of them mentioned they wanted to actually be in the service. Maybe it kind of opens the door for some of them to join the military.”
Teachers said the Soldiers visiting meant a lot to the students.
“You guys are larger than life to them,” said Cherie Holder, first grade teacher, Eckhart Elementary School. “This was just really great that you could come and they could see … you are real people.”
The school staff was also pleased to have the Soldiers visit.
“I think it was good for us as a faculty to just get to say thank you and we appreciate what you are doing,” said Holder.
Students were not the only ones to take something away from the day.
“I think Soldiers just got a great joy of being able to interact and maybe give them an idea of what to do in the future,” said Olah. “I have never seen so many Soldiers smiling ear-to-ear and, at the end of the day, talk about how sore their cheeks were from smiling.”
As Olah returned to the training site, he wished he had more time with the students.
“I wish I could have got to read to them more,” said Olah. “I kind of got distracted with the questions. I hope to be able to go back down there and read to them again.”
Warhorse Soldiers have also participated in a meeting with city officials, a community day and a dinner in downtown Trinidad during the brigade’s monthlong training exercise at PCMS.