Simonelli says …
Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr.,
Hello, Team Bliss!
Spring has sprung and the weather has definitely shown it. Winter didn’t peter out but instead blew a gale full of dust Sunday. The bigger surprise came Monday, the last day of winter, when storms rocked Fort Bliss, dropping copious amounts ice and rain. On the other hand, Tuesday was the first day of spring and opened chilly and serene with clean, clear skies.
Enjoy the good weather while it’s here. Before long it will feel like summer. Although the summer provides its own pleasures, the heat will pull the sweat from you during almost any outdoor activity, no matter how active or inactive. The folks at Outdoor Recreation have a few things planned that take advantage of the great outdoors. This weekend the crew is heading to Marfa, Texas, to catch a glimpse of the mystery lights that have helped make the town famous. April 13 through 15 the crew is heading farther east into Texas to hike in Seminole Canyon. Perhaps the biggest news for the Outdoor Recreation crew is the grand opening of their new building at Biggs Park April 21. There will be an adventure race as well as a tower day at Tango Tower and laser tag, the latter of which costs $5.
Also to see out winter, we held a concert at Freedom Crossing Friday, featuring American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry. The event was a terrific success, and I hope that everyone who came out got to enjoy themselves. This is just one of the many ways that Fort Bliss takes care of its own.
Last week, however, was not without its downsides, especially for some of our residents. A fire struck the Logan Heights neighborhood, temporarily displacing some of our Army family. I would like to highlight the quick response to the fire. Firstly, of course, the El Paso Fire Department got to the scene first as they were the closest available ladder to reach the neighborhood. Their swiftness kept this unfortunate disaster from being a much worse calamity. El Paso is a terrific host city, and I cannot thank them enough for the promptness. Also of note, Balfour Beatty saw that our displaced Fort Bliss team members got into a hotel and ensured that they should be back in permanent housing as soon as they can.
Balfour Beatty coordinated a donation with community members to see that the displaced residents get clothing and other necessities. Fort Bliss’ generosity shown through and they will not be without washer, dryer, microwave and many other things. A special thank you goes to Staff Sgt. Shaheed Bullock with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st AD, who drove throughout El Paso picking up donations. I would like to thank all the heroes who helped out.
This brings me to the heroes we have here at Fort Bliss, specifically to recognize this week’s duo of Installation Management Command Heroes of the Day nominees. First is Jessica Wilson of Milam Youth Activity Center. Jessica, who serves as a hero to the teens at the Milam YAC, works hard on a variety of fun special events, adding her personal touch in bringing joy to those who work with her – teens and fellow YAC personnel alike.
Next up is Gabriel Vazquez, after-action review operator for the Close Combat Tactical Training Facility, receives plenty of positive feedback from Soldiers and leaders during his daily training. He takes his job seriously and, like all of you here on post, is a valuable asset to Team Bliss.
To learn more, look at the IMCOM Heroes section to your right.
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