By Fort Campbell CourierNovember 8, 2010
After a full year of operation, the Child Development Center at 3301 Indiana Ave. finally received a name in a dedication ceremony Friday afternoon.
Families and leaders alike attended the grand opening of the Billy C. Colwell, Sr. Child Development Center. Colwell retired from Fort Campbell in 1979 as a first sergeant, but continued to work in the community to better relations with Fort Campbell. He volunteered for organizations ranging from Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers to Operation Eagles Nest and Toys for Tots.
The event kicked off with the Pre-K strong beginnings class leading those assembled in the pledge of allegiance, followed by the testimonial of two parents whose children have been enrolled at the center since it opened.
"My experience with this center and with the strong beginnings has been nothing but positive," said 1st Sgt. Lisa Haney, 20th Quartermaster Company, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
"When I bring my son here every morning he's excited to come because he thinks this is a real school, you can't tell him no different. They actually prepare him for kindergarten. The lesson that he is learning have helped him improve greatly so I know next year when he does go to kindergarten he will be very well prepared."
Tamika Christian agreed with Haney's sentiment.
"I'm a single parent, so when it's just me, when I had my son stay at anywhere with any other adults, I'm looking for top-quality adults. In this facility, everybody is top quality," Christian said.
"I have to worry about absolutely nothing. They teach my son about being friendly, about fairness, about equality - things that are going to help him as he becomes a young man."
After their parents spoke, the Pre-K class returned to sing the "Tootie Tot" song. They were followed by the older home school children singing "America the Beautiful."
Colonel Perry Clark, Garrison commander, spoke to commemorate the occasion.
"This is a very unique child development center. I got to walk through not long after I got here last year - cause it actually opened in October of 2009 - and we got to see this really magnificent facility," Clark said.
"Our Soldier population grew quite a bit in the last decade. We actually went from 24,000 Soldiers to a little over 30,000 Soldiers, which meant our Family population increased. We are right now at about 45,000 Family members. This facility plays a critical role in mission readiness and the performance of our Soldiers because they depend on these types of facilities to take care of their children."
The Colwell CDC is the second in a planned string of new Child Youth and School Services facilities at Fort Campbell. Due to the Army's stationing initiative, increases in the installation's population lead to the need for additional child care facilities.
The ceremony wrapped up with Clifford West, a friend of the Colwell Family, making remarks about Colwell as both an Army leader and a member of the community.