By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffAugust 6, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker and the surrounding communities have a long history of supporting one another. Post officials describe the Army Community Covenant partnership as a "two-way street" that is mutually beneficial for the local communities and the installation.
"We have a lot of outside support from the local communities," said Frank Zerbinos, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation business operations officer. "People from off-post come out to enjoy the different things we have here and, by doing so, show their support for (the installation)."
According to Zerbinos, businesses like The Landing, Rucker Lanes and Silver Wings Golf Course experience a high amount of off-post traffic.
"We've had several wedding receptions and high school proms at The Landing," Zerbinos said. "A local high school had its prom here about 20 years ago and then other people started calling us about using it for their gatherings."
Charity events are also a major attraction for off-post communities, Zerbinos said.
"There are several fundraising events at the golf course each year and, along with Soldiers and Families, usually a lot of people from the surrounding communities come out to show support as well," he said. "Our golf course has expanded over the past few years and outside businesses really like using it for their events."
Zerbinos said he feels the Army Community Covenant has benefitted both the off-post communities and Fort Rucker in similar ways. "I believe the installation leadership has a great relationship with the outside communities. Helping each other out is just being good neighbors," he said.
Rachel Davis, City of Enterprise special events coordinator, said working with Soldiers and civilians from Fort Rucker has helped build an "excellent relationship" between the city and post.
"We want to include Soldiers and Families in everything," Davis said. "Their feedback is highly important to us because it helps us to know what they want to see and what they need from the community."
As part of the Army Community Covenant, Enterprise, like other surrounding Wiregrass communities, has a "sister unit" it works with on a variety of events and projects. The 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment volunteers at many different city functions throughout the year, said Davis.
"They assist in most of our special events," she said. "We also try to show our support for them by including them in every event. We want them to know they are invited to every special event in Enterprise and their feedback is very important to us."
Giving feedback to the community is exactly what Fort Rucker Community Relations Specialist Sheryl Lowell and Fort Rucker Public Affairs Officer Lisa Eichhorn try to do regularly by attending Chamber of Commerce meetings in the local communities.
"We're not on the boards, but we go to the meetings to get information about what's going on and to show our support for the different communities," Lowell said. "The Wiregrass communities are all very supportive and the relationship between the leaderships of Fort Rucker and those communities has experienced a lot of growth in recent time."