ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Soldiers, civilians, contractors and Family members received information and the latest updates from post leaders during the quarterly Installation Town Hall meeting at the post theater June 24.

APG and CECOM Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell hosted the event. He noted that Carol Roddy, the former President of the Maryland Gold Star Mothers chapter, who was active in the APG community, passed away June 9 and he asked attendees to continue to remember and support the Gold Star Families by including them in post and unit events. "Make sure her efforts don't go to waste", he said.

Ferrell thanked the audience for the work they do supporting the Warfighter. He said he continues to have four priorities: supporting the workforce, the Families, the facilities, and the communities.

"Our job is to remain transparent and let you know what is going on," Ferrell said

Ferrell said he recently attended the Secretary of the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) summit. He said the Chief of Staff of the Army discussed five imperatives: protect victims, prevent assault and to be an advocate; professionally investigate and take appropriate actions; create a positive command climate and an attitude of respect; all entities must understand their responsibilities, we need to create an environment that upholds the standards consistent with the Army's and the nation's values; and hold individual units and leaders accountable.

Ferrell added we all must work together to "stomp out" sexual harassment.

"It should never occur here at APG," he said.

Ferrell also discussed the upcoming furlough beginning July 8. He said on furlough days, employees are to abstain from working and that if they are having difficulty completing their mission due to the furlough, they should inform their supervisors.

"Reality says that we are not going to be able to do everything," he said. "All I ask of you is that you let us know, before it happens."

The meeting included updates from APG directors. Garrison Pastoral Coordinator Chaplain (Capt.) Wyne Hutchings talked to attendees about Operation Comfort.

The APG Main Post Chapel has limited funds to aid Families with children who are in crises during the furlough. Families that receive financial aid for food and other necessities must be pre-screened by their unit's chaplain or by the installation's chaplain. Hutchings added that the chaplains are also available for emotional support during this time of financial stress. For more information call 410-278-4333.

Former Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Ellen S. Daly talked to the audience about summer safety. She told attendees that they are seeing a rise in dehydration at KUSAHC. She advised the audience to drink plenty of water, especially if they know they will be outside for an extended period of time. She also recommended staying away from alcohol or caffeine drinks that dehydrate.

Installation Health Promotion Officer Wendy LaRoche talked to the audience about upcoming Community Health Promotion Council events, including the upcoming C4ISR Health Fair on July 18, which is open to the APG community. To view upcoming CHPC events, visit the APG website, www.apg.army.mil/, click on "Health Promotion" and "Health Events."

A representative from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development told attendees that if they are having trouble making mortgage payments they should call the HOPE Housing Counselors Network at 1-877-462-7555 or visit www.mdhope.org for help.

The end of the meeting was reserved for questions from the audience. One employee asked if the Civilian Wellness Program will continue. LaRoche said that she has submitted data on APG's Civilian Wellness Program to IMCOM Headquarters. Right now they are in the process of analyzing the data that was submitted, to determine if the program will continue. LaRoche said that she will publicize any information on upcoming programs.

Another employee asked about the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP). APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton said there will be another window for VERA/VISP. APG Garrison Director of Human Resources Janet Dettwiler said those who are interested must submit their paperwork before Sept. 7. For more information, call 410-306-2301.

For more information about the next installation town hall meeting, call the APG Public Affairs Office, 410-278-8759.