Covenant Promises Continued Improvements at Schweinfurt
November 7, 2007
SCHWEINFURT, Germany - Army Families are Army Strong, and Army leadership is making a promise to ensure families only grow stronger in the future.
The Army Family Covenant is a pact between the Army and its Soldiers and families - recognizing the strength of the family as the backbone of the service and committing time and resources to improving housing, education, job opportunities and more.
"It's our family; it's our community, and we take care of each other," said Lt. Col. Tony Haager, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt.
Worldwide, Army leadership is symbolically sealing such a pact by signing copies of the Army Family Covenant. In a ceremony here Oct. 29, Haager and Brig. Gen. Stephen Lanza, deputy V Corps commander, placed their names alongside signatures of the secretary of the Army, Army chief of staff and sergeant major of the Army - bringing the big-Army promise into the garrison, where it belongs.
"We, here in Schweinfurt, have been on the cutting edge of family-centered improvements even before the covenant," Haager said, noting that the popular "Family Strong" video now being circulated could easily have been recorded in Schweinfurt.
From morale, welfare and recreation programs - such as street festivals and family-friendly trips to discounted childcare and numerous installation facility upgrades - the Schweinfurt community has benefited from a family-focus mindset here.
This approach extends to the covenant itself. The USAG Schweinfurt document is personalized with pictures from local events, thanks to the efforts of the MWR staff, a move Lanza praised, noting that the covenant itself may mean more to people when they see themselves pictured on it.
The covenant, which calls for a standardization of Army services across all installations, reinforces at the Army level the work now being done at the local level.
"(The covenant) is to ensure that there are no have-nots. Everybody's a have," Haager explained.
This guarantee is especially important with the current deployment tempo in today's military. Soldiers are spending more time away from their families, with Army realizing that if the family isn't ready for a deployment, the Soldier often cannot properly focus on the mission.