By Julia Bobick, USAREC Public AffairsDecember 16, 2008
Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick and Command Sgt. Maj. Stephan Frennier reaffirmed the Recruiting Command's commitment to Families by signing the Army Family Covenant Monday afternoon at the USAREC Headquarters.
"We in this Command are very good at the mission," Bostick said. "We understand what the mission is; it's a number. We know what we need to achieve and it's crystal clear. Equally important, and as part of that mission, is taking care of our Soldiers, our civilians and our Families. We cannot have one without the other. We are committed to that."
In addition to USAREC Soldiers and staff, seven recruiting Families witnessed the signing in person, representing the very diverse Family groups across the Command, including a single father of four, dual military couples and Families with a deployed parent. Dozens more Families watched the ceremony from across the States via the Virtual Classroom Server, an Internet-based learning environment increasingly used by USAREC's geographically dispersed Soldiers and Family Readiness Groups to communicate and train with one another.
To ensure that the covenant was not merely a symbolic gesture of support, the Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major also signed a USAREC Family Covenant Plan, which outlines USAREC-specific Family support initiatives and goals to improve well-being in the Command.
"Today's commitment, I wanted to make sure, is more than just talk. We're going to write it down; we're going to say exactly what it means to [USAREC Families]. We've got future goals that we're going to come back once a quarter and measure ourselves against."
The USAREC Family Covenant Plan is in direct response to concerns from recruiting Soldiers and Families, according to Bostick. The command has implemented several well-being initiatives to help its Soldiers and Families living away from military installations and support facilities, including child care subsidies and government leased housing. Recruiting Command also reimburses Soldiers for gym memberships in their communities, and is working on including family members in those memberships, as well.
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Moore, a single father of four boys assigned to USAREC G1, said that the child care subsidies have been an incredible help to him as a recruiter and to other Families who aren't near a military base.
"Things that other Soldiers take for granted, we don't," he said.
Future goals in the USAREC Family Covenant Plan include providing each recruiting battalion with a family readiness support assistant, partnering with Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation for community service coordinators in USAREC and Cadet Command, and increasing child care subsidies for parents participating in family readiness group activities.
Lisa Strobeck, the wife of Master Sgt. Eric Strobeck, a recruiter attached to the 3d Recruiting Brigade on Fort Knox, said the covenant means a lot to her family. Strobeck deployed to Kuwait in May 2007 and is currently stationed in Hawaii following his deployment. Because he deployed individually, Lisa said the family had the option of where they wanted to live during his deployment.
"Instead of choosing to go back to either where his family is from or where my family is from, we decided to come here to Fort Knox, knowing that our military family would take care of us better than our own families could take care of us," she said. "And it's nothing bad against our families, it's just the Army knows what we're going through; our families can only guess what we're going through.
"To have the Army covenant and have these resources available to the families is really awesome."