Army Family Covenant signed during ceremony
November 7, 2007
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (TRADOC News Service, Nov. 7, 2007) -- Senior leaders of Fort Eustis along with Soldiers and family members from the Fort Eustis community gathered at the Fort Eustis club Monday for the official signing of the Army Family Covenant.
Col. Andy Bowes, Eustis garrison commander, spoke of what the covenant is all about, explaining it's been recognized by the highest level of leadership that more support to Soldiers' families is needed. He said, "we are all here to celebrate our commitment to you by signing the covenant with you."
Three Army families from Fort Eustis were invited to participate in signing the covenant along with senior leaders from Eustis - Jackie Jackson, spouse of Staff Sgt. Christopher Jackson, 71st Trans. Bn.; Tammy Olson, spouse of Spc. Timothy Olson, 6th Trans. Bn.; and Kathy Martin, spouse of 1st Lt. Joseph Martin, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
Although many programs existed prior to the creation of the Army Family Covenant, there are still improvements to be made and more programs and benefits that can be offered. Brig. Gen. Jim Chambers, Eustis commander, said he wants the community to tell them what services aren't being provided and what needs to be improved.
Though many of these services and the funding are going to happen over the next year, along with similar budgeting in the next five years, Chambers went one step further by saying he "asked his staff to come up with some quick wins to offer up to the community as near-term objectives and promises." He then spelled out the four near-term objectives he is going after.
First, free shuttle service on the installation; second, Saturday matinee movies will be free for the children.
"Of course you still have to pay for the popcorn," he said and the Saturday evening movie will be free for the adults. Third, though not usable until summer rolls around, free pool access for Soldiers and their families at the outdoor pools. The last near-term objective is increased recreational, organized sports leagues for children.
Chambers said, "We need to do more than just team sports, to include free league participation by our children. Using the facilities we have available, we can immediately go after tennis, golf, bowling, track and field, in terms of individual sports. And then all the team sports our children should be able to participate in locally, without cost."
In closing comments to the community, Chambers said the goal is 100 percent for the four near-term objectives.
"We get a failing grade if we can't do one of these, if we do three and not four, that's not good enough," he said. "Give us your long term targets to go after that we can fund and accommodate to improve the quality of life."
The Army Family Covenant
We recognize the commitment and increasing sacrifices that our families are making every day.
We recognize the strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families.
We are committed to providing our families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive.
We are committed to building a partnership with Army families that enhance their strength and resilience.
We are committed to improving family readiness by:
Standardizing and funding existing family programs and services
Increasing accessibility and quality of health care
Improving Soldier and family housing
Ensuring excellence in school, youth services and child care
Expanding education and employment opportunities for family members.