Cen-Tex Partnership signs proclamation

By Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW EnvironmentalMarch 7, 2024

U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos Commander Col. Lakicia R. Stokes, Dan D. Yancey, mayor of Copperas Cove and Brian Dosa, Fort Cavazos director of Public Works, recognized Capt. Christopher Lamoureux, commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos, as the Environmental Ambassador awardee for Fort Cavazos. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental)
U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos Commander Col. Lakicia R. Stokes, Dan D. Yancey, mayor of Copperas Cove and Brian Dosa, Fort Cavazos director of Public Works, recognized Capt. Christopher Lamoureux, commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos, as the Environmental Ambassador awardee for Fort Cavazos. (U.S. Army photo by Christine Luciano, Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

COPPERAS COVE, Texas — U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos Commander Col. Lakicia R. Stokes, along with mayors and representatives from the communities of Belton, Copperas Cove, Gatesville, Harker Heights, Killeen, Lampasas, Nolanville and Salado gathered March 1 at the Ogletree Gap Preserve here to proclaim April as Sustainable Environment Month and also present the Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities Partnership Environmental Ambassador and Youth Environmental Ambassador! awards.

“Through engaging and interactive initiatives, the Cen-Tex Partnership is inspiring youth to feel empowered in making a difference, encouraging residents, Soldiers and families to lead as environmental stewards, and serving as a model for other communities to collaborate and create similar partnerships,” Stokes said. “Helping to champion our mission of environmental and community stewardship are today’s awardees, who we will recognize for raising awareness about stewardship and sustainability, inspiring others to develop connections with our environment and fostering positive changes to enhance the well-being of our Central Texas communities.”

Stokes and Dan D. Yancey, mayor of Copperas Cove, hosted the event to celebrate youth, organizations and individuals from each of the partner communities.

“We come together to celebrate and recognize the remarkable individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to preserving our planet,” Yancey said. “Let us remember the significance of this moment. It is not merely a Proclamation or a MOA (memorandum of agreement) signing; it is an affirmation of our shared responsibility to protect and nurture our environment.”

Recipients of the ambassador awards included John Burns from Belton; Copperas Cove Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association from Copperas Cove; Capt. Christopher Lamoureux from Fort Cavazos; Kelsey Cole from Gatesville; Ilse Meier from Harker Heights; Killeen Mowing and Drainage Division from Killeen; Ashleigh Elizabeth from Lampasas; Cpl. Natalie Lenehan from Nolanville; and Native Planet Society of Texas Tonkawa Chapter from Salado.

Lamoureux’s knowledge, passion and commitment was recognized for making a difference and promoting and encouraging environmental stewardship within Cavalry Family Housing, the Fort Cavazos community and his unit footprint.

“I have always tried to be a good steward of the environment, but I will say, since joining the vast network of environmental players here at Fort Cavazos, I have had a better understanding of what it truly means to live green,” he said. “The only way we will shape our future is to take ownership in what we do now. Encourage others to do the same and we will all live long enough to benefit from a greener tomorrow.”

For the second year in a row, the Cen-Tex Partnership recognized winning schools for the 2023-2024 Youth Environmental Ambassadors! program also known as YEA!.

“I would tell other schools that the experience is worth every second when you are able to reach a child in a new and exciting way,” said Janelle Casson, social emotional learning facilitator/counselor for S.C. Lee Junior High. “Building relationships with students will help not only that student, but the school and classroom environment. For us, it wasn’t just about building the garden, it was about growing children into healthy young adults.”

The YEA! program is a collaborative partnership between the Cen-Tex Partnership and the Fort Cavazos School Liaison Office Adopt-A-School Program to encourage youth to make a difference within their footprint. YEA! features several initiatives that promote litter prevention, conservation, recycling and beautification across Central Texas.

Recipients included Martin Walker Elementary for the Greater Fort Cavazos Area Recycle Bowl award for recycling 3,045 pounds and 23 pounds of pull tabs.

“I feel very glad that they recognized our school and student council for doing something good for a good cause. It was actually fun and helped the environment,” Keegan Schaefer, a fifth-grader at Martin Walker Elementary, said. “I hope students gain more knowledge about recycling. It is good for the community to recycle, dispose of things properly and take care of what God has given us.”

Notable awardees also included Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary for Pull Together to Make a Difference award for recycling 54.6 pounds of pull tabs and 1952.51 pounds during the Recycle Bowl; S.C. Lee Junior High as winner of the School Beautification award; Sustained Excellence award winners included Hettie Halstead Elementary for recycling 2000 pounds and Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary for recycling 625 pounds during the Recycle Bowl and participating in the YEA! program for at least three consecutive years; Richard E. Cavazos Elementary as the Rising Star award winner for their first year participating in at least two YEA! initiatives and recycling 780 pounds during the Recycle Bowl and 6.5 pounds of pull tabs; and nine individual award winners for the Texas Recycles! poster contest.

“Your contribution to recycling efforts can have a ripple effect and make a difference,” Cristina Miranda, school counselor for Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary, said. “We want our youth to develop healthy habits, which include recycling and taking care of their community and environment. Today’s youth are our future, and we want to teach them to preserve and protect our natural resources.”

During the recognition, awardees were presented with a tree cookie — a cross section of a tree and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Rep. John Carter (TX-31).

“In Copperas Cove, we firmly believe that ‘brevity is beautiful’… let us revel in the joy and celebrate the accomplishments of those who have championed sustainability,” Yancey said. “Together, we shall forge ahead on this path, embracing innovation and creating a greener future for generations to come.”

Following the awards presentation, Stokes, Yancey, the mayors and representatives gathered to sign a proclamation declaring April as Sustainable Environment Month. Partner communities also signed a Memorandum of Agreement to renew and extend the Cen-Tex Partnership to July 2034, with the exception of Nolanville, Salado and Killeen who will sign at a later date before the current July 2024 MOA lapses.

Yancey concluded the event expressing appreciation to the partner communities and awardees recognized.

“Thank you, awardees, for your leadership, dedication and commitment to sustainability,” he said. “These individuals serve as a reminder to our responsibility as government leaders, managers and residents to remain committed to sustainability.”