Artillerymen from 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), attended the second annual Daddy-Daughter Dance Feb. 10 at Cole Park Commons.

The Proud American fathers escorted their daughters to a fun masked-themed evening complete with catered cuisine and music. The two balloon-covered dance floors made the evening that much more entertaining as the young ladies danced the night away.

For more than a year the battalion has battled through COVID-19 while continuing to mitigate the spread of the virus. Because of precautionary measures that prevent the spread of COVID-19, many Families have not taken part in activities that most Americans were accustomed to pre-pandemic such as having dinner at a restaurant, large group activities and vacations that don’t require social distancing.

The Proud Americans found a way, for the second year to pay it forward to their daughters with a night out, while also following COVID-19 safety measures.

The artillerymen had New Orleans Mardi Gras-style masks and fancy white gloves, as well as hand sanitizer available upon entry of the special affair. Soldiers dressed in Army Service Uniform and jump boots pre-screened everyone and ensured safety prior to the evening fun.

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Carter, commander of 2nd Bn., 32nd FAR, 1st BCT, started the Daddy-Daughter Dance and was excited Proud Americans found a way for the new battalion tradition to continue this year.

“This turned out to be another great event and better than I imagined,” Carter said. “I’m just glad we were still able to show our support to our daughters and our Families and have this dance again this year despite COVID-19. Chaplain Hurd did another great job this year. There were some things here I didn’t even expect. He did another awesome job and I’m proud to have our fathers and their daughters at this event.”

Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Hurd, battalion chaplain assigned to 2-32nd FAR, 1st BCT, host of the event for the second year, was proud to organize the event again for the battalion. Establishing COVID-19 safety measures for the event proved a challenge, but he was happy the unit could give their daughters the opportunity to spend the evening with their fathers.

“I’m honored to put this together again as it is a great event for all the fathers and their daughters,” Hurd said. “Everything turned out great and I’m really appreciative of our FRG [Family Readiness Group]. They came out and did all the decorating and really made this place look great.”

The special dance was not just for the Proud Americans. Soldiers from across the brigade attended in celebration of their daughters and getting some much-needed personal time with them. Capt. Jay Burke, battalion chaplain, 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st BCT brought his daughter to the dance.

“I love this,” Burke said. “I was here last year, and we had a blast. We’re glad to be here again. You know us chaplains have to stick together. We come to each others’ events, and we all really have a tight bond within the brigade.”

That support extends beyond the battalion chaplains as the guest speaker for the affair was none other than the 1st BCT Chaplain, Maj. Ruben Saldana assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Bringing three of his four daughters to the dance himself, Saldana gave some advice to every father in the room about their daughters. While each father held their daughter in their arms, with a few toddlers even sitting on their fathers’ laps, Saldana gave words of encouragement and guidance to aid during fatherhood.

“I have four daughters but only three are with me today as my other one is in college,” Saldana said. “The first piece of advice I can give you is to love your daughter’s mother. I tell my wife I love her often in front of my daughters. The second piece of advice is to love your daughters. As simple and obvious as that sounds it is very important. Oftentimes in my work with couples and Families daughter’s feel unloved. They quickly learn from our culture that their value comes from their outward appearance rather than who they are. Oftentimes they can’t measure up to the girls on social media, and they tend to feel worthless. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Remind your daughters often that they are princesses and that they are loved.”