Camouflage, candy and face coverings are nothing new to the American celebration of Halloween, but in 2020 things look a bit different.
Wanting to make the best of the current pandemic environment, Soldiers and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Financial Management Command came together to provide a local childcare center with festive treats in a safe manner Oct. 26.
“Typically, the kids come over to the [Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center] building here in costume around Halloween, and we hand out candy and other treats with the building’s other occupants,” said Valerie Dillon, USAFMCOM secretary to the general staff.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government Services Agency, which manages the Bean Center, determined having the parade through the building would not be safe.
“It was the right call, but we still wanted to do something special for the kids,” said Dillon. “We also didn’t want the littles to miss out on the experience seeing their military community.”
USAFMCOM teammates personally donated thousands of pieces of candy and toys, which were all collected by the SGS and put together into more than 80 treat bags.
“Personally, giving back to the community gives me a sense of purpose, especially when it involves children,” said Jennifer Lashbrook, USAFMCOM Army Financial Services systems accountant. “The smallest things can impact a young child’s life and leave a lasting impression.”
After the bags were assembled for each age group, one through five years old, they were then delivered to an adjacent childcare center by USAFMCOM’s top enlisted Soldier.
“It was really a great experience to see their excitement,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth F. Law, USAFMCOM senior enlisted advisor. “It was refreshing, especially during this time.”
The sergeant major added he thinks he got more out of the experience than the children.
“I forgot what it was like to be excited at five, and it was a good ‘pump-me-up,’” Law continued.
Dillon agreed with his assessment.
“Giving back is just something I was raised to do – it’s how I grew up,” she said. “You get so much out of it, and I’m glad to be part of a team that came together to put some smiles on the kid’s faces, even if you couldn’t see them fully.
“Any way you can help another person, it’s a very important thing,” she concluded.
USAFMCOM enables the readiness of America’s Army by serving as the Army’s focal point for all finance and comptroller operations while providing FC capabilities that facilitate accountability, auditability and stewardship. USAFMCOM conducts enterprise-level financial operations and provides technical coordination for FC units and commands across the Army in order to ensure the effective implementation of policies and programs to support optimally resourcing the Army.
USAFMCOM is responsible for Army FC functional support in the areas of systems, audit and compliance, financial operations, and Enterprise Resource Planning business standardization. The command also provides Army-wide, unique actions such as operational oversight of field FC activities, FC unit technical training, electronic commerce and classified finance and accounting oversight.