FORT HOOD, Texas — The III Armored Corps and Fort Hood People First Center officially opened its doors during a ribbon-cutting ceremony amid gathered leaders, Soldiers and community members on May 13, 2022.
The center, months in the making, is a “leadership laboratory” according to its developers, designed to reinforce elements of a healthy organizational culture.
“What's unique about the People First Center is that it's the one-stop shop on Fort Hood where we offer integrated services that look at every aspect of what it is to be a person and a human being,” said U.K. Maj. Gen. Michael Keating, III Armored Corps deputy commanding general-support. “I think that's what's unique rather than distributed across an installation as big as Fort Hood.”
Keating, who officiated the ceremony, was accompanied by Soldiers and leaders from across Central Texas as he cut the ceremonial ribbon, signifying the official opening of the center.
The People First Center’s forward-looking approach to leader and Soldier development revolves around preventing harmful behaviors before they happen. Experts in the fields of family advocacy, sexual harassment and assault prevention, equal opportunity, resiliency, substance abuse, suicide and spiritual readiness are all housed at the center with training focused on immersion.
“What separates the Fort Hood People First Center from existing programs is its innovative development model that focuses on prevention through the delivery of immersive, scenario-based developmental experiences,” said Col. Chad Foster, Fort Hood garrison commander, in an opinion piece discussing the center’s novel approach to leader and Soldier development.
Sgt. First Class Amanda Hoover, the center’s deputy commandant, said she wants people to look at the center and think of how leaders can innovate — and wants leaders to look at the center and think “this is how we change the future.”
Helping bring the future to the present is cadre member Sgt. Tira Peaches from the 89th Military Police brigade. She expressed her dedication to the Soldiers who come through the training. "If you need help, I'm going to take you and we aren't leaving the building until we figure out how to solve the issues," Peaches said.
Training at the center consists of small Soldier teams going through three training days. The first two days involve interactive scenarios with participant-led discussions, while the third day focuses on emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication skills. The goal at the end of training is that formations are educated on reducing harmful behaviors in their organizations, said the deputy commandant, Hoover.
To date, roughly 1,300 Soldiers and leaders on the installation have gone through the course during the center's initial operating period.