FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Colonel Cynthia Murphy, the Fort Lewis Garrison commander, gave special consideration to the young children at Clarkmoor Child Development Center by reading a book that introduced the significance of the Army's 233rd birthday June 13 during the Army-wide event that cumulatively took place at more than 125 CDCs, reaching 60,000 children aged 1 to 5.

Murphy said reading the story was a wonderful way to share the Army's history with the children. It helped show them they are part of the Army family, too, Murphy said.

The children at Clarkmoor were able to interact with the garrison commander and learn that she owns a dog and has three children who were just like them.

"There's no better child care system in existence than the Army's child care system," Murphy said.

She emphasized that one of the keys to success was the development of new CDCs, helping to make Fort Lewis a walkable community. The benefits extend beyond family welfare, she said.

"Nothing helps job performance more than knowing one's children have a nice, safe and clean place to go and interact with other kids everyday," Murphy said.

She also gave credit to a staff that continually works to raise the bar higher and higher.

Rhonda Fairgrieves, director of Clarkmoor CDC, said Murphy has a strong understanding of the importance of Soldiers and their families that helped her convey the connection the children have with their parents and the Army.

"Parents are the first teachers," Fairgrieves said. "(Reading) is a way to bond and pass along information."

That reading, she said, is a vital tool for setting the groundwork in a child's mind.

"They may not fully understand the text of the story," she said, "but each time they read they'll be able to understand more and more."

The Army has centralized the learning process for the children of today's Soldiers through the establishment and sustainment of child development centers as part of the Army Family Covenant that has allotted more than $47 million to Fort Lewis's six CDCs this year.

Spc. Aaron Carpenter is assigned to the I Corps Public Affairs Office.