By Ms. Laura Levering (Fort Gordon)January 29, 2020
If you live in Gordon Terrace or Maglin Terrace, care about your neighborhood, enjoy helping others and have a few hours to spare each month, Fort Gordon's Residential Communities Office has an opportunity for you.
Both communities are in need of assistant mayors to help represent its residents.
The Mayor Program is a volunteer-based Army program whose primary duty is to help ensure the well-being of residents.
Each of the installation's six neighborhoods, with the exception of Boardman Lake, which only has three homes, has a mayor and assistant mayor position under the Mayor Program.
Sylvia Thigpen, Residential Communities Office liaison, said that any adult may become a mayor or assistant mayor as long as they live in the neighborhood.
"Active duty, spouses, civilians, retirees -- anyone can volunteer," she said.
Participants in the Mayors Program meet monthly with the Housing Services Office and quarterly with the Garrison command team as a means to directly communicate any issues or concerns on behalf of their neighborhood's residents.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marshall Smoke, Navy Information Operations Command -- Georgia, served as mayor of Olive Terrace between March 2017 and Dec. 2019. Smoke said that he and his wife were friends with the neighborhood's former mayoral team, who asked if the Smokes would like to take over since they were moving.
"We were always out in the neighborhood going for walks, we knew a lot of people in the neighborhood … and it just kind of fell into place," Smoke said.
Smoke's wife joined him as assistant mayor. Together, they served as administrators of the Olive Terrace Facebook page, encouraged people to attend community events such as cookouts and movie nights, and disseminated information relevant to housing. Perhaps the most significant aspect of their duties was being able to serve as a voice for their neighbors.
"We were essentially a liaison between Garrison, housing and the residents," Smoke explained.
Smoke received an Army Achievement Medal for the impact he made during his time as mayor. Accolades or not, Smoke said he would serve all over again if presented with the opportunity.
"It was fun," he said. "It gets you more involved with the community, gives you a chance to inspire others to make change, and gets you out meeting people."
Thigpen encourages anyone with the slightest interest in becoming part of the Mayors Program to reach out to her.
"I think people overthink it," Thigpen said. "It's really not as contentious as people make it out to be."
To volunteer or learn more information about becoming an assistant mayor, contact Thigpen at Sylvia.email@example.com or 706-791-7067.