Winning Community Support
June 29, 2011
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion continues to earn the support of local communities through covenants and partnerships. Over a two-day period June 22-23, the battalion signed community covenants with the cities of Fond du Lac and Greenfield; and formalized a partnership with the local district of Kiwanis International.
Earning commitments of support for Soldiers and Families is a step to raising public awareness of the military in those communities, said Lt. Col. Robert L. Cody II, battalion commander.
“Once the leaders of these communities have committed to supporting our Soldiers in a public setting, then the rest of the community will follow,” Cody said. “Our Soldiers and Families are deserving of community recognition. They defend our nation with a sense of pride that’s fostered by their local communities.”
The community covenant signed with the city of Fond du Lac reflected an ongoing relationship between the military and the community.
Fond du Lac City Council President Richard Gudex said the community has always been supportive of its service members.
“What we are doing today is putting in writing the same fundamental thoughts and support we’ve had throughout the years. We recognize the Soldiers, the men and women who are in service of our country, but there is also the family support structure that stays behind,” Gudex said.
The covenant highlights how the city is prepared to assist Families who stay behind while their Soldier is away in service to the nation.
“We want to be able to say we are a loving and caring community and put that into action, not just words. We want to be there when times get tough for our Families,” Gudex said.
Greenfield’s community covenant was an act of recognition for the sacrifices the Soldiers and Families make in service to the nation.
Mayor Michael Neitzke said he wanted to convey Greenfield’s commitment to the Soldiers and Families for their commitment to make such sacrifices. As co-chair of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council, a group of Milwaukee County municipal leaders, Neitzke invited Army leaders to promote the covenant among other communities through the council.
During the signing ceremony, Neitzke recounted his father’s service during World War II.
“My father said something to me that I will never forget, he said he fought for me so that I wouldn’t have to,” Neitzke said. “When [servicemembers] who are in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, or any other place in the world, when they come home we need to recognize that there are huge sacrifices being made by them and their Families. And we have to make sure that we have that same commitment to them when they return.”
The Milwaukee Battalion also formalized a partnership with the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District Kiwanis International. The event reflected a local adaptation originally launched by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command and Kiwanis International/Key Club International in April at Fort Knox, Ky.
The new partnership is based on the shared values of the organizations and their joint commitment toward developing the academic and leadership potential of young people. As a result, both organizations will look for ways to increase collaboration and develop programs that heighten awareness of the benefits of Army service and officership among Kiwanis family representatives.
The battalion commander said this partnership will help many young people take advantage of the March2Success program the Army provides.
“We have something fundamentally in common with Kiwanis. We both want to see young men and women achieve their potential,” Cody said.