Fort Rucker School-Age Center Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

JIM HUGHES Fort Rucker Public Affairs

FORT RUCKER – U.S. Army Aviation and Post Center of Excellence, Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity, visited the Fort Rucker School Age Center to help kids to celebrate and learn about Hispanic Heritage Month on October 5th.

The Army family is diverse and emphasizes the importance of creating an environment where all people are valued, respected and encouraged to grow and realize their potential, according to Equal Opportunity Specialist Lesa Willard.

“America’s diversity has always been one of our nation’s greatest strengths,” she added. “Every culture and every proud heritage plays an essential role in a vast exchange of ideas, values, habits, entrepreneurial spirits and innovation – all working for a stronger society where we learn and grow together. .”

Events like this are important in highlighting the diversity of the military, according to Master Sgt. USAACE Chief Military Advisor Jason Oberle.

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“They help people understand the beliefs, ideas and reasonings that have shaped different cultures,” he said. “It could be someone from a different ethnicity or background seeing and understanding the culture for the first time. What I wanted to accomplish at this event was to discuss the activities and festivities that we normally see here in America, such as football and piñatas, and explain where they came from and highlight how Hispanic cultures have shaped our culture.

The team also spoke with the children of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, according to Willard.

“Having grown up in a housing estate with very limited family finances, she was nine years old when her father died,” she said. “His mother worked long hours to support herself and her brother. She loved to read and was determined at the age of 10 to become a lawyer and a judge. She studied and graduated at the top of her class, earning scholarships to Princeton University and Yale Law School. She has always championed diversity and equality in society. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 to become the first Hispanic justice to serve on the Supreme Court.

Oberle said the team achieved its goals at SAC.

“We tried to keep the lecture portion of the celebration to a minimum due to the age and attention span of the children we were working with,” he said. “We had physical activities to help instill the lessons we told them about – the kids were excited to play a little soccer, break a piñata and learn about a key leader in our history. I believe the kids had fun and hopefully shared their knowledge and what they did today with their families and friends.

He thanked the SAC staff and the children “for making this a wonderful event”.

Oberle also thanked his teammates, Willard; sergeant. 1st Class Matthew Podruchny, 110th Aviation Brigade; and the sergeant. 1st Class Josh Frasher, 1st Aviation Brigade, “for coordinating and helping to make this event such a success. I hope the kids have learned a little more about Hispanic culture and will continue to learn more about different cultures to help create a more inclusive environment.

To learn more about the Army’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, visit

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