Soldiers inspire kids at Boys and Girls Club

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Arts and crafts, dodge ball, and flying kites are all things you might not expect to see uniformed soldiers doing.  But, one Boys and Girls Club in Columbus was overflowing with about 100 soldiers doing just that.  The soldiers said it is all in the hope to make a change in kids' lives.

For one day, these kids and soldiers had something alike: forgetting the stress of their lives whether it is in the classroom or on the training field by playing rounds of football, breaking out the dance moves, and even putting pink shirts over Army fatigues.

It was all for the kids of the Boys and Girls Club and a chance for the soldiers to see the faces of the community they work so hard to serve.

For Kentrell Pettis, a member at the Boys and Girls club, the soldiers' visit was an inspiration and a glimpse into his future.

"I want to be one when I grow up," said Pettis.

He wants to be a soldier just like Senior Officer Candidate Lindon Bond.

"Myself being an ex-member of the Boys and Girls, whenever we would get people to come in and help and show their experiences and say, 'Hey you can do this.  You guys can be successful.'  It was tremendous.  It just brings a big aspect on their lives," said Bond.

Bond and the other soldiers from Fort Benning's Officer Candidate School are in a 7 day a week, 12 week training program.  At the end, they will walk away as 2nd Lieutenants.  But, for one day, they were kids again and even had some tough competition on the playing fields.  Pettis told News Leader Nine he even hit a soldier in dodge ball.

Even more than the fun and games, Bond said the visit was a way to give the kids hope.

"It doesn't matter, everything that's going on.  You can always make the better out of a situation and you can get out of it and have fun," said Bond.

That is exactly what they were doing: having fun and just being kids.

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