Depot, community leaders embrace Veterans Day, sign Army Community Covenant
November 24, 2008
In conjunction with a Veterans Day celebration, Anniston Army Depot and its community partners hosted an Army Community Covenant signing ceremony here Nov. 10.
"There is a special relationship between the community and our veterans because today we pay homage to all who have aided in the defense of this great nation," said Depot Commander Col. S. B. Keller as she addressed a crowd of depot veterans, Pearl Harbor survivors, and their family members.
City mayors and other community leaders where present, alongside Anniston High School Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets and the Jacksonville State University ROTC color guard, to make their mark on the community's formal commitment to support our troops.
"Today we can see and shake the hands of veterans from the World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Keller.
By signing the covenant, Army and community leaders make a promise to foster and sustain effective state and community partnerships by improving the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families.
"I am always honored to be a part of such a great event," said depot employee and Vietnam veteran Kenneth Scoggins as he traveled in his motorized wheelchair. "It does my heart good to see the community involved."
"We realize the strength of our Soldiers is their Family," said Col. Charles Keith, director of Fort McClellan's Army Reserve National Guard Training Center, reflecting on some of the programs and initiatives provided to the military and their Family members. The Alabama National Guard Foundation offers assistance with emergency relief, tuition assistance, employment and debt protection, workers compensation, and other support activities while presenting a quality of life commensurate with their service, he said.
The Covenant has been signed in Army communities worldwide since April 2008. It's a formal commitment of support by the state and local community to Soldiers and Families of the Army.
"Today's covenant is much more than a statement or promise; it is an oath," said Sherri Sumners, daughter of a World War II veteran and president of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. "On behalf of our Army community, my signature indicates that we honor Soldiers and their Families and assume our role as a community with humility and gratitude."
The Army Community Covenant is a living document that will build on what we accomplish this year and will be updated as new leaders change at local Army and community locations in the following years.
Already, many in Calhoun County are supporting Soldiers and their Families through donations made to the Army Emergency Relief fund and to certain agencies through the Combined Federal Campaign. Others support the cause by volunteering at local agencies and with organizations like the Association of the United States Army, which serves the needs of our military personnel.
Anniston Army Depot's workforce is comprised of more than 1,300 veterans with a broad skill base of mechanics, welders, engineers, programmers, machinist and analysts.
Following the signing ceremony and music performed by the Fort McPherson, Ga., Army Ground Forces Band Brass Quintet, the depot trekked to the Veterans Cemetery at Fort McClellan to place American flags on the graves of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"The ink will dry and stay there, but it will be up to everyone to make it work," said Sumners of the covenant.