Fort Belvoir opened its arms to its neighbors during the annual Community Relations Breakfast Oct. 20.

Garrison Commander Col. John Strycula stood in front a diverse group of people in the Officer's club dining room and posed a simple question -- "How do we make Fort Belvoir a great place to live?"

What followed was the "Proud and Ready Team" giving their personal thoughts on the installation.

One-by-one Soldiers and civilians stood up and talked about their jobs, goals and the benefits of living on post.

The individual testimonies were part of a detailed discussion about the development of Belvoir during the past year, led by Strycula.

The breakfast allowed the community to learn about all the services on the installation. It also served as a formal display of Belvoir's commitment to being a dedicated community member.

Strycula mentioned a number of elements that he believes will make Belvoir a great place to live, work and play.

He mentioned the growth of the housing villages, which are 99 percent occupied, as part of what makes Belvoir an enjoyable living environment.

The colonel said tenant organizations such as the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency's mission to help Soldiers make the post a great place for employment.

Lastly, Strycula discussed the various recreational programs the installation hosts as evidence of Belvoir's capacity for entertainment.

"It's a great place to live," said Marine Cpl. Brandon Carter, Joint Personal Property Shipping Office Washington Area, transportation management officer. "I love it."

Carter has been living on post in Lewis Village for 16 months. He said he's thankful for his experiences at Belvoir, which have helped broaden his knowledge.

When he's not working he coaches in the youth sports program.

"I'm a huge sports fan ... just to be able to take my knowledge and provide it to the younger kids and then see them perform them as a team means a lot to me," Carter said. "It's the best youth sports program I've ever been involved with."

Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington commander, was one of many guests who shared their thoughts about post during the breakfast.

Linnington called Belvoir a Family friendly environment. He said the relationship Belvoir has with its community is second to none.

U.S. Representative Jim Moran also spoke, stating the services on post are serving the retirees, communities and Families.

Moran, who doesn't think Belvoir could be any better managed, said America has to place far more emphasis on services such as for foreign language, technology and intelligence.

According to Moran, the country has to rely on the Military heavily to achieve this end. He's thankful for the service of all of the branches.

"We've got to stay at the cutting edge. We've got to defend this country. We've got to make sure that both our economy and society are all that it can be," Moran said.

Sharon Bulova, Fairfax County, Board of Supervisors chairman, said the breakfast makes the relationship between the garrison and community personal.

Bulova has worked with the garrison on behalf of Fairfax County on numerous projects such as the Eagle Express bus route.

Bulova said the recent BRAC development has created some challenges, but it's also created economic development benefits for Fairfax such as the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and Wounded Warrior's facility.

"We're proud to have the Wounded Warrior services and presence here in our county," Bulova said. "I expect that we'll want to be a stronger partner and doing right by people who serve our country."

Bulova, who worked at Belvoir during the Vietnam War, said it's interesting to be working with the installation from a different perspective.

"It's neat to come back as the chairman of Fairfax County Board and continue a partnership that's a very much a value to the county," Bulova said.

Page last updated Fri October 28th, 2011 at 15:03