FORT SILL, Oklahoma, Jan. 14, 2020 -- With the 77th Army Band playing under the leadership of their new commander, Warrant Officer Richard Townes, and a color guard from the 428th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Sill rolled out all honors for a visiting dignitary.Leaders of Fort Sill and surrounding communities honored Oklahoma's newest civilian aide to the secretary of the Army (CASA) during a welcome ceremony Jan. 13, in front of McNair Hall.Appointed to the position Nov. 13, Mike Brown will serve as the CASA for the southern portion of Oklahoma for at least two years. He joins Jill Castilla, who took on the same duties for the northern part of the state.Maj. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, introduced Brown and said he will enhance the relationship between the Army and civilian communities."Mike, we are honored and happy to have you serving as the civilian aide to the secretary of the Army and we look forward to what we can do together with this partnership," said Shoffner.The general touched on Brown's résumé of activity in the Lawton-Fort Sill community and around the state. He added the secretary of the Army looks for people who have a deep interest in military affairs; people with outstanding character, integrity, and patriotism.Shoffner said each candidate is evaluated by more than one person, and more thoroughly than just about any process he's seen. Afterward, the Army secretary makes a personal decision on who to select."The candidate must be a leader in community affairs, and must be able to interpret and affect attitude toward the Army," said Shoffner. "Lastly, it's someone who can devote an incredible amount of time to a job for which they receive no direct monetary compensation."Shoffner said Brown will work four primary duties. First, he will serve in state and local outreach spreading the word about how military service benefits the entire community and the state."These engagements help promote positive public perception, help support community involvement in the well-being of Soldiers and their families, and offer creative ways to augment our Army's mission," he said.Second, Brown will assist recruiting efforts. Shoffner said this is an important matter given that less than a third of 18- to 24-year-olds across the country are qualified to join the military. He said CASAs have to be a constant presence in local communities assisting in recruiting efforts, and sharing the Army story with parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and other influencers, to help connect potential recruits to Army recruiters.The third item is supporting Soldiers and their families as they transition out of the military, part of the Army's ongoing Soldier for Life initiative. Shoffner said while that starts in the time immediately following separation or retirement, it extends for the rest of Soldiers' lives.The final requirement will be to serve as a link to the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. Shoffner mentioned the Jan. 12, deployment ceremony at Lawton High School gym for A Battery, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery. He called the level of support "off the charts" and a true indicator of how the Lawton-Fort Sill community turns out to honor military units.Brown arrived here in 1985 to the town he calls the greatest community on Earth."I never thought I'd have an opportunity to serve in this way because I don't have prior service," said Brown. "There is some clout and some prestige associated with this and I take that very seriously."He called the CASA appointment a great opportunity to expand his heart of service, which has already been on display throughout Lawton."The Lawton community helped to make me who I am, and I have all gratitude for that," he said. "I am your son and I will make you proud. I'm excited about helping the state of Oklahoma and the challenges that we face with our military."Brown cited former Major League Baseball great, Roberto Clemente, for his off-the-field work to better humanity."He said a nation without heroes is nothing. To me, our heroes are our Soldiers and their families. That's why I serve and am so honored and grateful for this opportunity to help Soldiers and their families with the challenges that they face," said Brown.Looking forward to this opportunity to work with the nation's young people, Brown said the Army can play a big role in helping new Soldiers fulfill themselves professionally."Our Army knows how to train people. They know how to train leadership and citizenship -- all those things we need in our young people to carry our nation forward to be successful for years to come," he said.