Honoring the troops
Round Rock knows how to throw a party!
Sure, America’s hard-earned independence from Great Britain is great cause for celebration, but that’s not the only reason the citizens of Round Rock went all out to make this year's Fourth of July a special occasion.
This year there are about 170 new reasons to celebrate Frontier Days: That’s the number of military newcomers being welcomed to Central Texas.
Approximately 170 men and women of the U.S. Army’s 85th Civil Brigade and their families now call the Lone Star state home. The Brigade, originally from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, recently activated in Fort Hood, about 65 miles north of Round Rock.
As all members of the military know, moving, transfers and deployment orders are a way of life. And it’s up to the “new” community to pitch in to make any relocation proceed as smoothly as possible.
“It shows the strong relationship between the community and the military. We feel honored to be embraced by the citizens of Round Rock.”
That’s exactly what the community of Round Rock is doing — in a big way.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Will Williams received a phone call recently from an Army Sgt. Major asking for help in making the brigade members and their loved ones feel welcome. It only took one phone call to get a gigantic community ball rolling. Or would it be a community rock, as in Round Rock?
“They are relatively new to the area. This is going to be one of their first holidays away from home. They are new to Texas and they will be spending it with us in Round Rock,” says Williams, who also hails from North Carolina. (He’s also a Sertoma Club member and serves on the Board of Directors of “Heroes Night Out” a non-profit organization that provides a variety of resources for veterans and their families).
“About 50 to 60 members of the 85th Civil Brigade became our special guests featured in the July Fourth parade," explains Williams. The parade drew a huge crowd hours before its 10 a.m. start time in downtown Round Rock.
Will Williams eagerly reviewed the rest of the day’s itinerary and the groups whose members provided a down-home welcome for the military newcomers to Central Texas.
“Williams Catholic Church is going to feed them barbeque. Celebration Church, a non-denominational congregation, is going to take them to Frontier Days (the family oriented fun at Old Settler’s Park), and residents of the Kensington Neighborhood will provide dinner before everybody heads over to enjoy the fireworks display,” says Williams.
Another former military member, Retired Army Lt. Cindy Blankenship also helped organize the day’s events. She is the President of the Wilco Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America.
Blue Star Mothers have sons and daughters serving in all branches of the U.S. military. The organization hosted a VIP area where special guests kept cool and their children were entertained throughout the day. Blankenship’s 21-year-old son, Neil, is in the Army and is currently undergoing training in San Antonio for his role as a Combat Medic. He will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.
On the 85th Civil Brigade’s inclusion in the day’s festivities, Col. Leo J. Ruth II says, “It shows the strong relationship between the community and the military. We feel honored to be embraced by the citizens of Round Rock.”
In honor of all those who are currently serving or who have served — wherever they might be for the Fourth of July holiday — we hope they are feeling as welcome and appreciated as the U.S. Army’s 85th Civil Brigade and their families, thanks to the caring community of Round Rock. Now that's a reason for our nation to celebrate!