By Mike Egami, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsFebruary 8, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Carving time out of a very hectic four-day visit, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command dined with the spouses of Hawaii's senior Army leaders, Jan. 21, here.
At the luncheon, held at the Nehelani Conference Center, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch was quick to praise each and every one of the spouses for the unconditional support from families in a time of war, where stress upon families is almost unbearable.
"Even with a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion from (2009), we will fully fund and support the Army Family Covenant and the commitment Army leadership has made to provide a better quality of life for Soldiers and families," Lynch said. "We will take a systematic approach and take a closer look at all programs."
Lynch praised the efforts of the garrison for its energy conservation programs and individual efforts to conserve electricity in offices by turning off lights and computers when not in use.
"We must all continue to do our part to save millions of dollars to the bottom line on electricity bills annually," Lynch said.
When he asked how IMCOM is doing taking care of Army Soldiers and families, senior spouses responded with positive support for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Blue Star Card program, which provides everyday benefits to deployed Soldiers' spouses and families at FMWR facilities. The senior spouses said the program is a morale booster for those who participate.
Senior spouses also discussed the merits of the chaplain-led Strong Bonds program. When talking about various programs, Lynch noted that some elements may overlap with other Army Community Service programs. He emphasized the need to thoroughly review all programs to avoid duplication, and thereby prevent waste.
Lynch went on to talk about the need for programs that study how long-term deployments impact childhood education and adolescent behavior.
"We need to find ways to improve the schools in Hawaii and get money to help the Hawaii school system," Lynch said.
Lynch ended the lunch by encouraging the spouses to contact him with their concerns or suggestions on providing better support to Army families.