By Ms. Monica K Miller (TRADOC)July 7, 2008
During Newport News, Va.'s Fourth of July celebration "Stars in the Sky" at Victory Landing Park, city officials and leaders from Fort Eustis, Va., took a moment to reflect on the relationship between the community and post by signing the Army Community Covenant.
"Newport News and Fort Eustis have a long history of a positive relationship that over the years continues to grow," said Newport News Mayor Joe Frank during the ceremony Friday evening.
The ACC is a testament to strengthening the partnerships between Army posts and the local communities in order to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their families. Local leaders at the community and state level participate in the signings to recognize the strength of Soldiers and their families and the support of the community.
"This Army Community Covenant puts into words what has been in our hearts for so very long," said Frank.
On hand to sign the ACC between Newport News and Fort Eustis were Frank, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Brig. Gen. Pete Lennon, Surface Deployment Distribution Center deputy commander for mobilization, Col. Andy Bowes, Fort Eustis garrison commander, Staff Sgt. Tyra McGee, 510th Human Resources Company, 7th Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, her husband, Jermaine McGee, and their sons, Xavier and Orion McGee. Other city officials and members of the Fort Eustis community were in the audience to witness the signing.
The ceremony took place after a performance by the Army Training and Doctrine Command Band and before a concert by the Spin Doctors and the fireworks show. Hundreds of Newport News and Fort Eustis residents enjoyed food, children's games and rides, and other family activities throughout the evening.
During the signing ceremony, Lennon, a resident of Newport News since 1991, recounted many examples of the successful working relationship between the city and Fort Eustis. More than 6,700 Fort Eustis children are educated in Newport News public schools; for more than 20 years Fort Eustis has aided the city's food and blood drives; each year during the holiday season the hotels in the local area participate in Hotels for the Holidays, a program that allows family members of Fort Eustis Soldiers to stay for free while visiting Newport News; and Newport News and Fort Eustis partnered to provide Achievable Dream Academy, an accredited school delivering a social, academic and moral curriculum to inner-city children, with Soldier mentors for a character development program.
"The city has welcomed (Soldiers and their families) with open arms," said Lennon.