By Esther GarciaOctober 1, 2010
SAN ANTONIO -- Representatives from local, federal, state, civic and business communities, the educational and sports communities, with Army leaders and recruiters gathered for a banquet Sept. 23 at the Petroleum Club rededicating the two-year-old San Antonio Community Action Committee.
Lt. Col. George Sarabia, commander, San Antonio Recruiting Battalion, said during his opening remarks, "When I first heard about the Army's efforts to reach out with local communities I was still in Iraq. When I first arrived here in San Antonio, I saw it was really happening and all I am trying to do is to continue to make great things happen as the Army works with community leaders to help outreach to our communities."
"We call ourselves SACAC, and the key word is action,' said retired Army Col. Olin Findley Brewster, chairman.
"We are trying to become more action oriented; more objective driven where we can accomplish more things to assist our recruiters in their area and help them to do their jobs."
Brewster said the committee was divided into four subcommittees.
The business/military subcommittee, chaired by Marty Bartlett, president/CEO, Tri-Starr Personnel, provides a speakers bureau where people are available for recruiting events, provide the civilian perspective and support for recruiting battalions.
The business/military subcommittee also developed a program where a business agrees to partner with one of the 15 local recruiting stations and visits with or assists in whatever the station might need.
The education subcommittee, chaired by Dr. Cyndi W. Porter, virtual dean, University of the Incarnate Word, gets the word out about educational programs offered by the Army.
This committee hosts an annual breakfast for school counselors as an opportunity for the Army to present its educational programs that are available to the public.
The sports subcommittee, chaired by Katie Karuse, San Antonio Spurs and Rampage, works with the Army to host various sports activities in the local area for future Soldiers.
The community subcommittee, chaired by Janice Ricks, encourages people to become a part of the SACAC.
"The most rewarding thing about this group is to be in the company of the men and women in uniform," Ricks said.
Sarabia said we all have a lot in common.
"We want our high school kids to graduate from college, whether they go into the Army or not, be physically fit, and we know nationwide it is a challenge. We know the Army can help. We want our kids to stay out of trouble - in the Army we call it the Army values."
"We are helping people in Iraq. We are helping people in Afghan-istan, in the horn of Africa. We are helping people in Columbia. Why aren't we doing more here in our own backyard' And that, is what you, community leaders do on a regular basis."
Sarabia said there are three goals he requests from the SACAC activities.
First, find out what is going on in the community - known as situational awareness in the Army - and get involved. Second, create advocates in the community spreading the word about Army programs. Third, help resolve issues, Sarabia said.
Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Wells, keynote speaker, said, "America's Army must maintain a steadfast presence in our nation and other nations committed to the ideals of freedom and democracy. I am speaking about your Army and its place within our society.
"America's military forces are regarded as the most respected in the hearts and minds of the American people," Wells said.
Wells currently serves as the Army Reserve Ambassador Strategic Outreach Coordinator for the 81st Regional Support Command at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Sonny Melendrez officiated as master of ceremonies.
Recruiters Master Sgt. Christopher Stovall delivered the invocation and benediction, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Minner sang the national anthem.
The ceremony included a special "Salute to Our Nation" narration by Wells as patriotic pictures were accompanied with music for backdrop.