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Fort Hood Press Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 24, 2015 5:32:57 PM CST

Gatesville shows appreciation to Fort Hood Soldiers, families

Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, addresses Soldiers, families, veterans and community members with words of appreciation on behalf of Fort Hood service members during the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce’s seventh Annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry at the Coryell County Activities Complex in Gatesville, Texas, Friday. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs

GATESVILLE, Texas — The Gatesville Chamber of Commerce held its seventh Annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry here Friday for Soldiers, families and veterans from their southern neighbor, Fort Hood.

“This is the military appreciation fish fry we hold every year,” said Gary Chumley, Gatesville mayor. “It’s mainly to just touch base with our neighbors down at Fort Hood, and let them know how much we appreciate their service to our country and community.”

The fish fry is deemed a very festive occasion, even though it was birthed from the unfortunate events from the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

The incident spurred Gatesville residents to come to the aid of Soldiers and Families of Fort Hood; with one of the most notable events being the Military Appreciation Fish Fry held each year since then.

“We’re just here to help out in any way we can” said Chumley.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, right, First Army Division West commanding general, talks with Gary Chumley, mayor of Gatesville, Texas, during the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce’s seventh Annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry at the Coryell County Activities Complex Friday. The fire department prepared the catfish, hushpuppies and sides for the event. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

The gathering began with a social hour of Soldiers, families and residents mingling together in the Coryell County Activities Complex. Retired Army chaplain Rev. Buddy Wheat gave the evening’s prayer.

Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, addressed the crowd with gratefulness on behalf of Fort Hood.

“Thank you very much for inviting us here tonight,” said MacFarland. “The hospitality of Gatesville is delightful, and the way that you’ve supported our troops is absolutely wonderful.”

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, First Army Division West commanding general, followed MacFarland as the event’s guest speaker. Colt began his speech with not only words of adoration for Gatesville, but also of his predecessors.

“The truth of the matter is, it was my high privilege to come in here after Warren Phipps and Perry Wiggins, people who established an unbelievable relationship, I think, with Gatesville,” said Colt. “I am marveled by how much time this community continues to contribute to our welfare.

“The patriotism, hospitality and humility of this community makes it particularly special for us to be a part of,” Colt added.

Soldiers, families, veterans, Gatesville residents and friends all gather to enjoy catfish, hushpuppies and sides prepared by the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department for the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce’s seventh Annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry at the Coryell County Activities Complex in Gatesville, Texas, Friday. Gatesville is the partner community of First Army Division West, and the community supports Soldiers training on North Fort Hood. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

Colt also paused to thank the mobilizing Guardsmen and Reserve Soldiers that attended the fish fry. The service members came from various units from Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Washington.

“We recognize all that you have given; all your sacrifices in order to make a difference for all of us,” said Colt. “You have our tremendous respect and appreciation.”

The Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department prepared the fish, hushpuppies and sides that were enjoyed by all.

“We have a volunteer fire department that’s second-to-none in this state,” said Chumley. “In addition to that, they are also fantastic cooks.”

One Washington National Guard aviators said the evening would have a lasting impact.

“It was a great time,” he said. “It’s something I haven’t seen from communities back home. It’s a truly welcoming community.”

For more information contact:
First Army Division West
First Army Division West
(254) 553-5010
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]