COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - Leaders with the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team rear detachment, 1st Infantry Division, and Morris County re-affirmed the commitment between the brigade and the Morris County community by signing the Army Community Covenant Oct. 9 during Council Grove's annual Grillin' in the Grove event at the Canning Creek Cove campground near Council Grove.

Soldiers with the 1st HBCT showed support for the event in the form of a color guard, provided by the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, and by participating in both the ceremony and the barbecue cook off later in the day. Judges for the cook off were Soldiers with the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, who showed their unit pride by all wearing cavalry t-shirts.

During the event, Morris County commissioner Vern Hays spoke about covenants and their use in business and law. He spoke about the writings of the Bible and the covenants between God and the Israelites, indicating the importance of covenants throughout history.

Hays said, in a broad sense, the community covenant is the Army saying they will protect American ideals and American's way of life, and the community saying it will support the same ideals and way of life.

Maj. Eric Schmidt, 1st HBCT rear detachment commander, spoke of the history of covenants in the area and their impact on the development of the nation. He also spoke of the value of the Morris County community to Fort Riley.

"Your Families, employers and schools greatly improve our Fort Riley collective quality of life, and strengthen the 1st (HBCT), 1st Inf. Div.'s ability to care for our Families and perform our peacetime and wartime missions," Schmidt said.

"The Council Grove and Morris County community members play a significant role in strengthening the strong partnership with 1st (HBCT), 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley. They understand what a Soldier's life is like and the sacrifices the Families make because either they once wore a uniform or have supported those who did. They understand what it means to selflessly serve our country, in or out of uniform," Schmidt said.

Many of the community leaders of Morris County have served in the military and the location of the event, Council Grove, has a strong relationship with the military, in particular with 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., he said.

Recently, the 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., was invited to attend the local high school's homecoming football game, as well as participate in the pre-game parade. The unit also coordinated with Council Grove leaders to paint the local display tank in the city. Soldiers with the 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., also were on hand to assist the community with the Grillin' in the Grove event.

Many of the 1st HBCT's Soldiers recently deployed to Iraq. The brigade has been able to prepare for the deployment quickly in part because of the support it received from the community, Schmidt said. The community covenant is a way for the Army, and in this case, the 1st HBCT and the community, to support each other, he said.

"The 1st (HBCT) has been able to reach this level of preparedness in part because of training, but also largely because of the support and encouragement of the Families and commitment from communities like Council Grove (and) Morris County," Schmidt said. "(The) 1st (HBCT) will remain committed to the Families and communities that are covenanted to us - whether a battalion deploys or stays behind."

The Council Grove and Morris County Army Community Covenant signing was the last of eight covenant signings that took place within the Central Flint Hills Region through the summer and fall months.

In February 2011, the covenants will be taken to the capitol in Topeka and signed by state officials.