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NEWS | April 5, 2017

Soldiers partner with College of William & Mary for track and field meet

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Echo Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade put their text books aside for a day to volunteer with the College of William & Mary during a track and field meet in Williamsburg, April 1, 2017.

The event, which is the largest scored meet in the country, brought together 65 different colleges and universities, to include 55 men’s and 62 women’s groups, as well as 34 high school teams from six states.

“Running an athletic event, such as a track meet, takes a lot of manpower and coordination of officials and volunteers,” said Alex Heacock, College of William & Mary track and field interim director. “The service of [the] soldiers is an immense help to us, visiting teams and the competing athletes, as it greatly adds to the quality and efficiency of how the meet is run.”

Echo Co. has provided similar support to William & Mary in the past, to include gymnastics meets, football and basketball games. While volunteering, the Soldiers assisted at the high jump, long jump, javelin and various stations in addition to helping with the coordination, set up and clean-up of the meet.

Also during the event, U.S. Army Capt. Jamar Jenkins, Echo Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade commander, conducted a promotion ceremony for three privates and thanked the audience, participants and coordinators for their continued support of the military community.

“What we’ve been able to do is leverage a partnership with our community,” said. Jenkins. “When we talk to our Soldiers about what it means to be in the Army, a big part of it is that we are a part of the community as a whole so it’s important for us to teach these Soldiers that and to help out any way we can.”

In addition to volunteering, the Soldiers participated in a 400 meter relay race to demonstrate the Army’s capabilities and to build esprit de corps within their unit.

“Our soldiers have been raving about this for the last three weeks and they’ve been competing to try to stack teams by classes,” said Jenkins. “So they not only worked but actually participated in the event and we really appreciate William and Mary for allowing us to do this. I know my Soldiers loved it.”

According to Heacock, he looks forward to continuing the partnership with the Soldiers and any other units interested in volunteering, in the hopes of showing appreciation to service members and growing the bonds with community members.

“These types of partnerships further the understanding of the sacrifices that service men and women make on behalf of all Americans, [by] fostering face-to-face contact between the military and civilians,” said Heacock. “These partnerships provide very natural opportunities for groups of soldiers to be recognized and appreciated for their service, something that each and every one of them greatly deserve and there is no way that you can put a price tag on that.”