FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Whether starting at a new duty station, school, job or just visiting Fort Leonard Wood, both military and civilian leaders here want to help newcomers find their bearings and discover what’s available in the area.
“Welcome to Fort Leonard Wood” was the theme and the message from several speakers at the latest Woodworks community forum, held June 2 at Pershing Community Center.
“As we look at our posture and continue to open up our facilities and what’s available here on Fort Leonard Wood, we want to work to make sure it’s a place we all want to serve,” said Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.
“There are a lot of activities happening here,” he added.
Getting the word out about what’s available on post, as well as the towns, cities and counties that surround it, is one of the key missions of the nonprofit Sustainable Ozarks Partnership. SOP volunteers Janel Rowell and Judy Fortner presented a video highlighting the tourism, business, education and health-care opportunities in the area entitled, “The Fort Leonard Wood Region Quality of Life.”
“Pulaski County, Phelps County, Laclede County and Texas County are all part of this region,” Fortner said. “We’re a big area, and there’s so much to do in this area, you just have to know what it is and where it is.”
The video, as well as links to attractions and events happening in the region, is available online at the organization’s new website, exploreflw.com.
“We have partnered with all our regional tourism experts (to create the website),” Rowell said. “It is constantly updated with everything we can find to share with everyone.”
More information about the Sustainable Ozark Partnership is also available on its main site at sustainableozarks.org.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is also trying to get updated information to its patrons more quickly with a new “Know Before You Go!” series on its social media and web sites. Katy Carter, FMWR Chief of Business and Recreation, said part of the campaign is to highlight some of the lesser-known services available.
“One example is that people know the Outdoor Adventure Center for bounce-house rentals, hunting and fishing items and canoe rentals, but a lot of people don’t realize we have horse stables,” she said. “We have many people who travel with their horses through their Army career.”
She said the series will highlight FMWR services like the RV Park, services at the Lake of the Ozarks Recreational Area and the resumption of vacation bookings and discount tickets for sporting events and theme parks at Leisure Travel Services.
Giving newly arrived service members more time to discover what’s available on Fort Leonard Wood is a goal of the Military Personnel Division.
Felicia Herron-Bryant, chief of the Human Resource Personnel Support Center, gave a presentation highlighting a recent change in procedure, in which new arrivals report to Installation In-Processing and work with its team members to fully in-process before reporting to their units. By giving service members more time to find their way around, including getting needed information about housing, dining, services and more, the new procedure has cut in-processing time in half to about 4.5 days.
MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena said unit leaders should realize the program has been revamped and that service members who are in-processing belong to the in-processing program.
“They don’t belong to you,” Delapena said. “Don’t put them on duty. Don’t have them report for anything. Their four to five days are for in-processing.”
One challenge the program has had is finding sponsors from units to meet new arrivals during in-processing. Delapena also urged units to provide more sponsors.
“We need sponsorships — somebody to come see them and welcome them to (your) organization,” he said. “I need the support from all units.”
Bonner and Delapena presented commander’s coins to the coordinators of this year’s Army Emergency Relief Campaign, which included 1st Lt. Rom Pollack, Sgt. 1st Class Steven Hooper and Fort Leonard Wood AER Officer Chuck Mathews, after they announced the program had exceeded its goal with a total of $151,200 raised as of June 2.
The nonprofit AER program annually raises money to provide Soldiers and their families, retirees and survivors with a wide range of financial assistance in times of need.
Bonner said, as of the June 2 event, Fort Leonard Wood was the top installation for AER donations in U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and he urged attendees to support the campaign, which continues through June 15.
“We are leading the way with TRADOC across the board,” Bonner said. “Fort Leonard Wood is the No. 1 installation inside TRADOC on AER. So, I thank all the units and everyone who has contacted the personnel. They did a phenomenal job.”
Some of the highlights and updates from the forum included the following:
— FMWR Director Megan O’Donoghue reported Fort Leonard Wood will have an in-person July 4 celebration with live entertainment, fireworks, activities and more. “The July 4 event is back!” she said, adding that plans include bringing in a headlining music act to perform during the celebration. Updates will be posted at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com.
— Walter Harris, Fort Leonard Wood transition services manager, announced his organization will hold its first in-person hiring fair of the year, the TAP Career Fair, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 18 at Nutter Field House.
— Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials reported that a “Car Show and Designs for Dad” event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 19 at the Exchange parking lot with music, vendors, food trucks, children’s games and more.
See https://www.facebook.com/LeonardWoodExchange for more details.
(Editor’s note: More Woodworks updates and announcements are available at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com/happenings/woodworks-community-information-forum.)