By Norman Shifflett | Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — On an extremely cold Oct. 24, 2020, morning, nearly 350 volunteers from the Fort Carson community showed up to make a difference in their community.
Make a Difference Day (MADD) is a national event that is focused on community service with a common goal of making a difference in someone’s life. The event is held on the fourth Saturday in October. This marks Fort Carson’s 24th year of participating in MADD. The event was from 8 a.m. to noon.
“This is an annual event that we do at Fort Carson,” said Joey Bautista, the Fort Carson Army Volunteer Corps coordinator. “This year we expanded to (five) different projects.”
The five projects were at Iron Horse Park, the Northside Reservoir, the drainage ditch that runs parallel to Barkeley Avenue, Balfour Beatty housing and the five schools on post.
In past years the volunteers would meet at Iron Horse Park for an orientation and then go to their respective areas. However, this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the volunteers were required to wear masks and were staged at the different areas around Fort Carson.
Breakfast and lunch were provided for the volunteers from a couple of fast food chain restaurants.
Armed with rakes, trash bags or other tools, the volunteers set out to accomplish their tasks of tidying the Mountain Post.
Projects included clearing debris from storm drains, raking leaves and helping with tasks to beautify the schools.
Spc. Emily Daily, who is with the 4th Infantry Division Band, said that she volunteered because she was proud of Fort Carson and the community members and how they came together to help each other. She was moving rocks at Patriot Elementary School with the help of others to improve the appearance of the school.
“It was nice for me to see everybody coming together,” Daley said. “Teamwork makes the team work (together), and it was definitely displayed here because it’s not something that anybody could have done by themselves.”
Some of the volunteers brought their families out to help with cleaning up the areas.
Staff Sgt. Georgette Ray, with the Soldier Recovery Unit, had her Family picking up trash in the storm drain. She said it meant a lot to her to have her Family there so that they learned what it’s like to give back to their community.
“I encourage parents to get out with their children to do these types of things.” Ray said. “My kids felt really good about it, they knew why we were doing it and the importance of what we were doing.”
Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, said he was proud of the Soldiers and Family members from the community who came out to help support Make a Difference Day.
Even with the challenges of the pandemic restrictions, the day’s event was successful.
“Fort Carson really made a difference,” Bautista said. “My theme for this was ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors.’”