Military Report: Local soldiers benefit from B.O.S.S. program

FAIRBANKS, Alaska Single soldiers on Fort Wainwright have an opportunity to participate in the program 'Better Opportunities for Single Service Members,' which has three pillars, recreation and leisure, community service, and quality of life. It is a part of the larger army-wide 'Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, with 75 programs across the country.

Single soldiers on Fort Wainwright have an opportunity to participate in the program 'Better Opportunities for Single Service Members,' which has three pillars, recreation and leisure, community service, and quality of life. (Footage courtesy of Fort Wainwright)

Fort Wainwright's is called 'Better Opportunities for Single Service Members' because they include Eielson airmen and soldiers from the Eielson Air Force Base, Clear Air Force Station, and Fort Greely. President of Fort Wainwright's BOSS program Logan Haga said they just had a skydiving trip and four out of the eight participants were from Eielson.

Advisor to the BOSS program on Fort Wainwright, Angela Coltellaro, says most of their demographic is 18-24 years old, so for many of them it is their first assignment, "so we have a life skills program, where we do the basics. I mean it might be basics on how to do laundry, or your financials, or how to buy a car, how to do winterization on your vehicle. We have a great program where they can go to our auto skills and get a lesson on winterizing their own vehicle, which saves them a lot of dollars towards winterizing their vehicle which is a necessity here in Alaska, which they may not have ever experienced in their lives."

They also volunteer within the community at events like the Midnight Sun Run, Food Bank, and American Heart Association. They also run a program called Soldiers Against Drunk Driving or SADD. They offer free rides to all service members and dependents in an anonymous manner so that they can get home safely.

"It's always kind of brought up wherever you're at, that's home, so this is the soldier's home for the next three years, we want to leave it better than we found it," said Haga.

Coltellaro says they try to take advantage of their unique location in Alaska with recreation activities.

"We want to get our soldiers and service members engaged outside of the barracks, most of our members live in the barracks and we have long winters here with many dark hours, and it's very important to get them out of the barracks and engaged," said Coltellaro. "Our BOSS programs across the Army try to do some [of the] same things for streamlining but we really like that unique aspect of Alaska, and is that our volunteering? Is it our community service or is that our unique recreation opportunities like ice climbing?"

Haga wants soldiers interested to know it is not a strict program, that they want soldiers to have fun while also giving back.

"Hopefully when they leave here three, four years after, if they do a 20 year career or only 3 years, this was the best installation because of how much I got to get out and see and do in Alaska. There's a lot of people that spend thousands of dollars to come and visit, we're stationed up here, we might as well take advantage of it," said Haga.