Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback hosted senior military leaders from around the state for the signing of the Army Community Covenant and the continuation of the Governor's Military Council(GMC) at the state capitol in Topeka, Kan., Feb.24.

The signings, which were Brownback's first as he is currently serving his first term as governor, were part of the annual Kansas Military Appreciation Day celebration.

Brownback said Kansans appreciate the military every day, not just once a year.

"Kansas is a military hospitable state," he said. "Our people love the military. We're delighted to have the Big Red One back.""We want to be a key part of our nation's defense."

Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, succinctly summed up his own gratitude toward Kansas and Kansans also.

"We very much appreciate our home in the heartland," Brooks said.

Brooks added that the growth Fort Riley has experienced in recent years can partly be attributed to military-friendly representation in the Kansas legislature.

After the signings of the community covenants and the executive order to continue the GMC, Brownback met behind closed doors with the military leaders from Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, McConnell Air Force Base, and the adjutant general of the Kansas National Guard.

After lunch, the governor convened with the commanders and the rest of the GMC to discuss past, present, and potential future issues that could impact service members, their Families, and the communities surrounding their installations in order to find potential solutions.

Brownback said the military's relationship is important to Kansas because of the global impact of the armed forces and Kansans' desire to contribute to that.

"We think the military is key to moving the world toward freedom and democracy," he said. "This is a very important thing to us to be host."