Howdy Y’all event at Great Place creates connections

By Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsMay 16, 2024

People standing behind lined, covered tables with pamphlets and free goodies on it in a large room.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 60 military and community agencies were on hand May 10, 2024, at the Lone Star Conference Center on Fort Cavazos, Texas, for the Howdy Y'all event. The organizations provided information, resources and services to incoming Soldiers, family members and civilians transitioning to and from the Great Place. (Photo Credit: Photo by Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
A board sitting on a stand holder that reads "Cavazos Connector" stands beside a covered table with infographics and free goodies.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Patrons stop by the Cavazos Connector table May 10, 2024, at the Howdy Y'all event in the Lonestar Conference Center at Fort Cavazos, Texas. The Cavazos Connector is a mass transit system recently launched in collaboration with the Hill Country Transit District to provide transportation to various destinations on the installation and within the community. (Photo Credit: Photo by Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — There is one event that creates connections with a combination of military and community organizations and welcomes everyone to the Great Place with a customary tip of the hat and a rousing “Howdy Y’all!”

Bearing the same name as the traditional Texas greeting, the biannual Howdy Y’all event was created to make the process easier for those new to Fort Cavazos, as well as those transitioning from the installation.

In the three decades since it began, having since undergone a name change, Howdy Y’all has become a highly anticipated occasion that transforms the Lone Star Conference Center into a one-stop shop for installation resources and services and neighborhood staples and specialties.

More than 60 installation and community organizations were on hand to welcome Soldiers, military families and civilians, help them settle into their new home and offer transition assistance to those moving on from the Great Place.

“It’s about making that community connection,” said Amber Pafford, marketing manager for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “The Army life is hard enough. It’s hard being the new person. It’s hard being in a new house, a new state, a new climate; it’s just hard.

“So, we’re trying to make the transition a little bit easier,” she added.

Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Hall, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos command sergeant major, agreed.

“It’s connecting the dots and giving them the resources to make it easier for our personnel that’s transitioning from the military,” he said.

As Hall made his way through the event, greeting representatives from post and community organizations, Soldiers and family members, he reiterated how overwhelming the process can be.

“Transitioning is a stressful time, so we want to try to make sure that we’re doing all the things to ease the stress level of our personnel that are either coming here to Fort Cavazos or transitioning out of the military,” he stated.

Carina Weathers, 14, just recently moved here with her mother, Lilia Weathers-Pelham, and father, Sgt. Kenneth Pelham, 96th Transportation Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade.

She had nothing but great things to say about the Great Place and added that she appreciates the support for military families.

“I think this event is a great way to connect,” she said. “You have people that are there for you and there with you, and you don’t feel alone.”

Lilia noted her needs have changed since her last tour here in 2006.

“Even though I’ve been here before, the last time I was here was without children, so now what I’m looking for is much different,” she shared. “Here you find resources, you find things to do for the kids, and that’s very important for their well-being.”

Pafford said the goal of Howdy Y’all is to provide a neighborhood feel to current and incoming Fort Cavazos families.

“It’s important for Soldiers and families to connect with resources on post and in the community,” she said. “We want them to feel supported and know that we are here for them.”