Pueblo West, military leaders unite
October 27, 2011
PUEBLO WEST, Colo. -- Leaders from Fort Carson, civilians, veterans and military personnel gathered Oct. 20 to take part in the Army Community Covenant signing ceremony joining the civilian community of Pueblo West with its military neighbors at Fort Carson.
With a backdrop of a large U.S. flag and four 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard Soldiers holding sabers, the officials signed the Army Community Covenant which was formed in 2008 by the Secretary of the Army to construct shared connections and strengthen relationships between Soldiers, Families and American communities.
"Today's community covenant signing ceremony is an outward representation of the vital relationship between the Mountain Post and our neighbors in Pueblo West," said Brig. Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson.
He said Fort Carson leadership continues to be astounded by the contributions of the Pueblo West community, including the adoption of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., that is currently deployed near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Pueblo West community conducted a governance training seminar that the general said has proven invaluable in preparing the troops for their current duties and has contributed significantly to their success in Afghanistan.
Army officials signing the covenant were the Civilian Aide Emeritus to the Secretary of the Army William J. Hybl; Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base; Doty; and Fort Carson Garrison Commander Col. Robert F. McLaughlin. State Rep. Keith Swerdfeger penned his name to the covenant along with several Pueblo West Metropolitan District officials: Jerry Martin, president; John Lisi, secretary; Mike French and Bill Vickers, board directors; and Jack Johnston, district manager.
The Army Community Covenant promotes and upholds state and community partnerships with the Army to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and Families, both at their current duty stations and when they transfer to other military installations. The covenant accomplishes several goals to include recognizing the volunteer service of individuals in the community and the public's contributions and also displays the Soldiers' gratitude for the ongoing support of their local communities.
The covenant also establishes a formal commitment of support by local communities that is not limited to the active-duty Army, but also includes the Guard and Reserve.
"The covenant signing in Pueblo West was arranged by the El Pomar Foundation, Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors and Fort Carson leaders," said Terrance McWilliams, a retired Fort Carson command sergeant major who is now the director of military support for the El Pomar Foundation, during his introductory remarks at the ceremony.
McWilliams said this is an important commitment made by the Pueblo West community to show support for the military while they are deployed in harm's way, protecting the nation.
The covenant is "such an interesting and exciting exchange of commitments between a community and an installation to support their military members and Families who are doing their service to the nation," Jacoby said. "It is also a commitment from the military to be good neighbors and responsible citizens, and to give back to the community as well."
Jacoby said warriors and their Families could not have done the series of deployments without the support, love and warmth of the communities in which they live.
The PWMD was recently awarded the Special District Association Collaboration Award for its efforts in conducting a four-day training for the 2nd BCT prior to their deployment.
"You can feel good that the training is saving lives and advancing our nation's objectives far away (in Afghanistan)," Doty said.
He closed by sharing a quote from Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden: "No military Family should have to bear its struggles alone."
Thanks to "our brothers and sisters" in Southern Colorado, Doty said, Fort Carson Soldiers will always have someone to assist them when they need support.
Swerdfeger said the community "has always enjoyed a soft spot in their hearts for the Army" and thanked local resident and long-time military supporter Marv Stein for being an integral part in connecting the Pueblo West community with its Army neighbors and making the event a reality.
"This is a great ceremony and I like to see this happen," said Walter E. Bedlien, Vietnam veteran and American Legion Rider member.
"(I) loved it. I am very happy to honor those who deserve to be honored," said Dick Lack, Pueblo West resident and Pueblo West Eagles member.