The installation hosted a walking town hall for local leaders and their Soldiers, July 30.
During this event, Balfour Beatty Communities, Directorate of Public Works Military Housing and the garrison command staff, provided local Army leaders with information, tours and a community walk through. Additionally, community members had the chance to ask questions and bring up concerns to leadership.
“We got the senior leaders together and walked around base housing. We started at a legacy home in Wilson Acres and then viewed an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) house in New Gannam,” Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan Reichard, Hunter Army Airfield garrison senior enlisted leader said. After that, we continued walking through the neighborhood so they could see how their Soldiers are living and how they’re taking care of the properties.”
During the home tours, Reichard along with BBC and Military Housing leadership reviewed everything from occupancy percentages to common complaints of residents. According to Reichard, this education of local leadership was necessary for improving overall quality of life for the Soldiers.
“Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable enough bringing things to us and then the people who advocate for them don’t understand the processes,” Sika Smith, Hunter Army Airfield Homes community manager said. “Having a Soldier’s senior leader involved in this ultimately helps improve the overall quality of life for their Soldiers.”
Additionally, BBC, Military Housing and garrison leaders requested the support of unit leadership in keeping their Soldiers accountable. According to Reichard, there are some problems and recurring complaints that can be avoided through leader intervention.
“We need leader engagement to improve the neighborhoods because there is a level of responsibility that falls on the Soldiers. Things as simple as taking in the trash bin after collection or picking up toys off the lawns so they can be mowed properly,” Reichard said.
In more extreme cases, residents who neglect or damage the property increase wait times for incoming families while the home is prepared. Lt. Col. Stephan Bolton, Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander, explained that when these extreme circumstances present themselves, there are usually additional problems within the household that may require command attention. Therefore, understanding how the Soldiers live can help leaders identify those more serious issues.
After providing leadership with the tour around base housing, the group met with residents at the Warrior Way playground in New Gannam.
Main concerns of the residents were service requests, grass maintenance and trash. According to Smith, many of these issues take time to resolve as they coordinate with the vendors, suppliers and the approval chain. While her team is working hard to resolve issues, her staff depends on the constant communication between residents and Hunter Army Airfield Homes.
“We care. They are all part of my Family and we want to know what issues are out there,” Smith said.
According to Reichard, these walking town halls will be quarterly events. Future town halls to be announced on the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Facebook pages.