(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood senior leaders hosted their monthly Community Information Forum July 7 at the Pershing Community Center.

Megan O’Donoghue, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, called it “a way to facilitate an information exchange and a dialogue with the community here.”

“This forum is designed to give a better understanding of community issues, share information, upcoming events and network to improve the quality of life for our service members, families, civilians and retirees,” she said.

Back to school

The theme this month was “Back to school,” and special guest Dr. Brian Henry, Waynesville R-VI School District superintendent, said summer is “going quickly” this year — classes begin Aug. 23 at Waynesville schools.

He added that “academics are our priority in this school district.”

“I can tell you the last time we had an annual performance report from the state of Missouri, we had a 100 percent,” he said. “That’s No. 1 in our conference; that’s fairly rare in Missouri; and we’re very proud of the work that our team has done and especially our kids.”

Henry also said three-quarters of the students in Waynesville are what’s called “military impacted,” and the connection between the school district and Fort Leonard Wood is strong.

“We’ve got a great, productive relationship here at Fort Leonard Wood,” he said. “I appreciate everything that’s going on and thank you for all the work that you’re doing.”

Also of note from the school district is that enrollment is open. Parents are encouraged to visit https://www.waynesville.k12.mo.us and click on “New Student Info” in the top part of the page. This coming school year, the five elementary schools — grades Kindergarten through fifth — will be in class from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and grades sixth through twelfth will attend from 7:30 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Housing

Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, spoke on housing. He said with employment shortages in private-sector moving companies, household goods shipments are being delayed, which impacts housing availability.

“We’re working through it,” he said. “We need to communicate clearly with our inbound Soldiers about what to do, and leaders need to show flexibility — there are a lot of unknowns right now.”

Paine also spoke on housing maintenance — more than 1,300 work orders requests were received last month by Balfour Beatty Communities — Fort Leonard Wood’s housing partner — which is above average. Despite the number of requests, Paine said emergency and urgent requests are consistently completed on time and he asked for understanding as there are currently shortages of maintenance employees.

“That’s the standard I hold our teammates at Balfour Beatty Communities to,” he said. “But our folks who do maintenance have families, too.”

To place a work order request, residents may call 573.329.4000.

Paine also asked housing residents for their feedback.

“Those surveys are important,” he said. “We want to ensure our families have safe and secure housing.”

Child and Youth Services

Tamara Smith from Child and Youth Services spoke on the programs they offer, including part-day programs for 3 to 5 year olds and 4 to 5 years olds starting Kindergarten in 2022. She also mentioned the School Age Center, which offers before- and after-school care for children in Kindergarten through fifth grade, and the Middle School Teen Program, which offers after-school activities for children in sixth through twelfth grade until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Smith also noted track and soccer begin in August. Registration starts July 12.

Call 573.596.0200 for more information on CYS and its programs.

FMWR events

Katy Carter, FMWR Business and Recreation director, announced several upcoming events, including “Beat the heat” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 17 at the Bruce C. Clarke Library. Fort Leonard Wood firefighters will be on hand until noon outside the library to spray volunteers with a fire hose. There will also be games and prizes, along with free popcorn and water.

She also mentioned the annual cardboard boat race will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 28 on the lake at Training Area 250.

For more information on upcoming FMWR events, visit their website at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mwr.ftwood.

Directorate of Emergency Services

As a new school year begins, Lt. Col. Nic Birch, Directorate of Emergency Services director and Provost Marshal, reminded drivers to slow down — school zones will be active and enforced.

“Don’t pass a school bus,” he said. “If you’re in a hurry, leave earlier.”

GLWACH

General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Commander Col. Aaron Pitney spoke on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for service members, Tricare beneficiaries, Defense Department employees and contractors.

Pitney said GLWACH’s Immunization Clinic offers up to 200 appointments each day and only a small percentage of those are filled.

“We have plenty of appointments available and plenty of vaccines,” he said.

Pitney also mentioned the success of the new walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic, which opened June 22 inside the Main Exchange.

The coronavirus delta variant mutation spreads much more quickly, Pitney said, and 31 to 40 year olds are most affected.

“My best medical advice is to get vaccinated,” he said. “600,000 people have died. We have a force to protect — a community to protect.”

Other updates, announcements

The Fort Leonard Wood United Service Organizations is now open. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. They are currently looking for volunteers.

The Commissary is hosting a virtual NFL ProCamps event at 1 p.m. July 17 via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/procamps. Call 573.596.0783 for more information.

The Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center is now located in their new facility, Bldg. 759. Hours remain the same: unit-level blood drives are Sunday through Tuesday, and appointments and walk-in donations are accepted from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Vacation Bible School is 9 a.m. to noon July 19 to 23 at the Main Post Chapel for children going into the first through sixth grades. Visit https://flw2021vbs.myanswers.com/mysteryisland for more information.

Paine thanked everyone for attending the July Community Information Forum — the theme for next month’s forum will be “Local Flair.”

“I appreciate everyone coming,” he said. “This is an important part of how we communicate with the community — how we get information out. I’m really excited to see representation from all the company command teams here. You are the critical piece in getting this information to our noncommissioned officers, to our Soldiers, to our civilian employees — to make sure this information is getting out there.”

(Editor’s note: More Community Information Forum updates and announcements are available at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com/happenings/woodworks-community-information-forum.)