By Amy Guckeen, USAG RedstoneMarch 12, 2010
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- For the major players behind Team Redstone, it's more than just a "hello" - it's a "Welcome. We're so glad to have you here."
Each first Tuesday of the month, Army Community Service rolls out the red carpet for newcomers to the Arsenal at Newcomers' Orientation, giving new faces a chance to meet some of the better-known ones and learn everything they want to know behind the new place they call home.
"We try to make them feel like they are part of the community," said Mary Breeden, orientation coordinator. "We want you to feel part of Team Redstone, not just your organization."
Properly introduced to Alabama with a Krispy Kreme doughnut and glass of Milo's Sweet Tea, newcomers hear from Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli, FMWR director Derrick Gould, ACS director Sue Paddock, as well as other representatives from across the Arsenal, including Fire and Emergency Services and Customer Management Service.
Pastorelli spoke of the Arsenal's history, as well as future growth at the March 2 session, in addition to giving a warm welcome to the area.
"The bottom line is that this is a great area," Pastorelli said of the Huntsville area. "It's known as the best kept secret. People come here and never want to leave."
One of the reasons people love the area, Pastorelli said, is the numerous activities available on the Arsenal. Rent a boat, camper, trailer or grill, fix your car at the Automotive Skills Center, take a dip in one of the three pools, play a round at The Links or catch come quiet time at the library. Free literature on services, activities and organizations at Redstone is provided to newcomers at orientation, as well as MWR bucks, and a 10 percent discount on framing and matting services at the Arts & Crafts Center.
"We have a lot of activities," Pastorelli said. "If you want to do something on post, you name it, we've got it."
At the conclusion of the morning, attendees board a bus to catch a glimpse of the sights they've heard about and learn some fun trivia from Breeden, like the tale of the Redstone gator and that some roads - such as Hercules, Honest John and Little John - were named for rockets developed on the Arsenal.
"I got a lot of great information from the orientation about the Arsenal," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jack Tartaglia, who arrived in Huntsville from Fort Campbell, Ky., in February.
While orientation gives newcomers a great overview of the Arsenal, and the encouragement to get involved beyond their organization, it also importantly connects them to ACS, who vows to be there for them every step of the way in the time they are at Redstone.
"We are the answer people," Breeden said. "We have enough collective knowledge of the community that if you've got a question, we can probably answer it. And if we can't, we'll go find out who knows."
Orientation is held each first Tuesday of the month, at ACS, building 3338 on Redeye Road, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Attendance is mandatory for all permanently assigned military, but everyone new to the Arsenal, including spouses, is welcome. Free childcare is available at the Child Development Center. Call Breeden at 876-5397 to register.