Military, civilian leaders sign Army Community Covenant
September 26, 2008
FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. (Army News Service, Sep. 26, 2008) -- Sunny blue skies and 70 degree weather were the perfect backdrop for the Fort Monmouth Army Community Covenant Signing ceremony at Wampum Park, Eatontown Borough, N.J., Sept. 24.
More than 180 people attended the ceremony including Soldiers stationed here Army civilians, elected officials, community leaders, families and friends.
The event, which was hosted by Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo, was a celebration of the Army's Community Covenant designed to develop and foster state and community partnerships with the Army in improving the quality of life for Soldiers and their families.
"You've joined us every year in celebrating such events as Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and so many others. And when we've needed you in times of celebration and in times of crisis, you've been there for us and for our Soldiers and their families," Col. Stephen Christian, the U.S. Army Fort Monmouth Garrison commander, told the assembled audience.
"By signing this covenant, our mayors and community leaders are affirming the close partnership between their communities and Fort Monmouth. A partnership that has existed for more than 90 years and has stood the test of time," said Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Via, U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command commanding general.
Via, Christian, Tarantolo, Col. Gale Harrington, her husband, Will, and their children; Christine, 9, and Steven, 11, signed the covenant.
New Jersey Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Robert McGuire, several of the local mayors, and other local officials also signed the document.
Prior to the event, local mayors pledged their support to Fort Monmouth's Soldiers and their families through a series of initiatives called "Best Practices.
Some of the Best Practices included waiving fees for Soldiers' children to participate in community sponsored park and recreation activities, local and county public beaches, boat ramp access and free admission to high school athletic events.
The Borough of Sea Bright also passed a resolution exempting active duty members of the Armed Forces and their families from miscellaneous fees, licenses and permits.
The mayor of Eatontown announced a special financial sponsorship registration program for military dependents who participate in Eatontown youth sports programs.
An initial donation of $1,400 was contributed by the borough's business community. The borough also recognized the Fort Monmouth commander as a member of the Two Rivers Council of Mayors and as a liaison to the Eatontown Board of Education.
At the state level, professional associations together raised $75,000 last year and $156,000 this year for Fisher House supporting America's military in their time of need.
Other state level Best Practices include free or reduced price transportation on New Jersey's mass transit system within the state and New York and reduced or free admission to attend local professional sporting events.
(Louise T. Cooper writes for Fort Monmouth, N.J. Public Affairs)