By Jim Hughes, Fort Rucker Public AffairsNovember 26, 2019
Fort Rucker, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Corvias officials hosted the quarterly housing town hall Nov. 25 at the post theater.
Even though the assembled staff outnumbered residents to the tune of 20 to four, Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, interpreted the extremely low turnout as a positive statement on the state of housing on Fort Rucker.
"Judging by the few people that showed up tonight, we're doing pretty well," Francis said at the conclusion of the event. "We're always trying to get better, though, and improve upon the excellence that we've achieved. I appreciate all of you participating tonight. If you ever run across an issue, don't hesitate to bring it up to me, or to the garrison or Corvias leadership and staff. We'll certainly take a stab at getting it right."
At the start of the town hall, Francis set the tone for the event by emphasizing how seriously he and Army leadership takes the issue of quality housing for Soldiers and families.
"When you listen to Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville, he talks about how people are our No. 1 priority and underneath that priority he lists several things he wants to do," he said. "Housing is one of them, along with medical care, child development centers, education and spouse employment -- these are all things that he is going after very hard. Thus, we are here tonight to handle one of those things, which is the state of our housing.
"We are truly here to get better," Francis continued. "We think we're already doing very well at Fort Rucker, but there is always room for improvement and hopefully you guys will give us something to work on here tonight."
The only comments received from residents were about a tree that poses a hazard with falling limbs, and a comment about replacing carpets in housing with linoleum flooring. Melissa Bryson, the Corvias operations director at Fort Rucker, said the tree would be looked at immediately and that Corvias intends to look into replacing carpet with plank flooring once current projects are complete.
She also spoke about ongoing renovations in Munson Heights, heating and air conditioning improvements to be made in Allen Heights homes starting in December, weatherproofing and energy upgrades starting in April, improvements to playgrounds and the completed project to remove trees deemed hazards.
"It's an incredibly exciting time," she said of all the improvement going on. "We are very excited about all of these projects and we look forward to seeing them thorough to the finish line."
Bryson also brought up the ongoing housing survey, which all residents should have received information on via email, encouraging all residents to complete it to let Corvias and Army leadership know what they are doing right and they need to improve on.
"It is really quick and easy," she said. "It only takes about five minutes to complete."
Corvias officials take a look at the anonymous surveys as they come in, and Bryson said the early results are encouraging.
"The feedback that we've received has been very positive, and we've also received some constructive feedback, which is great because that gives us an opportunity to improve," she said.
While Fort Rucker is one of the top dogs in the Army in the percentage of residents having filled out the survey -- third in the Army at 27 percent, according to Van Danford, chief of housing for the Directorate of Public Works -- more feedback is need to ensure housing residents' needs are met the way they should be.
"It's a good way for residents to voice their opinions," Danford said. "It's the only way that we know that we're doing the job that we're supposed to be doing, and that we're doing what the residents need us to be doing."
He added that while the surveys are anonymous, people can add their contact information and bring up issues they are experiencing at the end of the survey, and Corvias will contact them immediately to resolve the problem.
"We have a good partner in Corvias," Danford said. "They're working hard for the Soldiers and families."
The garrison commander, Col. Whitney B. Gardner, echoed those sentiments.
"Our housing team at Fort Rucker is extremely proactive and efficient. They always aim to do what is best for our residents -- our Soldiers and their families," Gardner said. "They attack problems quickly when they crop up and take corrective actions, but the real difference maker is that they solve future problems. They take steps now that will help Soldiers and families of the future without impacting current residents.
"Our entire housing team is responsive to customers -- they are never satisfied and always want to provide the best product that they can," he continued. "It is truly a relationship built on earned trust."
All housing residents should've received emails about the survey by now, Bryson said. If residents do not receive the email notification or have a different email account than listed with Corvias, they should contact CEL & Associates at ARMYHousingSurvey@celassociates.com, and include Fort Rucker and their full address.
"We appreciate residents taking the time to complete this survey," she added. "Our onsite team is available to answer any additional questions and can be reached by calling 334-440-8988."