FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- In an effort to find out how things were at Fort Sam Houston's Army Community Service, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, and his wife, Sarah, held an open dialogue with 52 Families from the Joint Base San Antonio installation community Feb. 14.

As in any contract, covenant or promise, it pays to follow up and see that things are still "working" or if a "tune-up" is necessary. Lynch's visit fulfilled that and more.

The 90-minute question and answer session gave insight into how the Army is doing in terms of getting information out to those who need it; how the Army is doing with respect to delivering services at the installation level; and with implementation of joint basing.

"After 10 years of war, there's a lot of stress on our Army; however, our Army will not break because of the strain on our great Soldiers. Our Army will break due to the strain on our Families," Lynch said.

"To ease the strain, we must provide quality of life services commensurate with their service. Senior Army leaders are committed to fulfilling the Army Family Covenant," the general added. "This year, funding for Family programs is $2.1 billion and we will sustain that funding level in coming years."

The Army Family Covenant was signed by leadership throughout the Army in November 2007. The covenant is the heart of what the Install-ation Management Command does and recognizes the commitment and sacrifices military Families make every day.

During their time at ACS, the Lynchs also visited with 15 surviving Family members of fallen service members.

"This was an opportunity for survivors to voice concerns and issues and to identify and address their specific needs," said Felicia Hilliard, Survivor Outreach Services program coordinator of the meeting.

Many key points were brought to the table and recognized as legitimate concerns for the survivors of fallen service members.

Not to be overlooked was Mrs. Lynch's visit with the Exceptional Family Member Program.
During the focus group 12 EFMP Family members, which included four active duty service members, spoke openly about the many positives and negatives that they face within the program.

Melissa Reyes, EFMP program manager said, "Families were able to voice their concerns regarding challenges they face when moving from one installation to another."