By Adriane Foss, APG NewsDecember 11, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Team APG enjoyed a special visit by Linda Via, the wife of Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), Nov. 30.
While her husband visited several of AMC's supporting commands based at APG, Via toured the installation herself, getting an up-close-and-personal view of garrison and tenant operations.
Her morning kicked off with a working breakfast at the Top of the Bay, where she was joined by senior spouses, a Gold Star Family member, and APG employees. During the breakfast, Via was briefed on the amenities that the 72,000-acre APG has to offer.
Via was then escorted by Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation Chief Mike Lupacchino and accompanied by Vickie McClinton, wife of Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton, and Gloria Dent, wife of CECOM CSM and the honorary president of the APG Community Women's Club, on a post tour.
During the tour, she spent time at the newly constructed Bayside Child Development Center, Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic and the dental clinic. At Kirk, Via toured the clinics' reconstruction and was briefed on the installation's Health and Wellness Program before being treated to a high-tech massage in the facility's wellness center.
During a stop at the Army Community Service building, the installation's recently arrived ACS Chief Janice Downing held a roundtable with Via, giving Gold Star Families and spouses of deployed service members an opportunity to address the AMC commander's wife.
Roundtable topics included resiliency training, Survivor Outreach Services, the installation's Exceptional Family Member Program and Employment Readiness.
Via expressed her appreciation to attendees for sharing their stories with her, and encouraged them to take full advantage of the services and referral resources ACS offers.
At the Sutherland Grille at Ruggles Golf Course, Via participated in a senior spouses luncheon. During the luncheon, Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Tomback praised the partnership between county schools and Team APG. He spoke of the ongoing collaboration between the schools and APG professionals, who provide local students practical experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.
APG provides mentors at all school levels, hosts STEM nights and math and science camps, and sends speakers throughout the county. APG reaches about 25,000 students annually in the region, and another 15,000 nationally through the Army-run, RDECOM-hosted, middle school science program called ECyber Mission.
"That happens because the APG leadership understands," said Tomback. "The folks here are willing to set aside what they're doing--keeping us safe and secure--no small task, but they're willing because not only do they have interest, but they understand that it's a part of their mission."
Expressing his appreciation, Tomback said the APG leadership and schools both understand how crucial STEM education is to the future of the Army and our nation.
During her speech, Via talked to the spouses about building resilience and and heard from a Gold Star wife seeking assistance for a Family member. She also encouraged members to put to good use grassroots programs like the Army Family Action Plan. Via said of a recent AFAP meeting at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., "the process is still alive and well, here and in other places."
She noted the many policy and legislative changes that have come about as a result of feedback during the AFAP process.
"Senior leaders do listen," said Via, "so if there are opportunities for you to tap into the process, I encourage you to do so."
Via also received a bus tour of the newly constructed military housing before attending the installation's town hall meeting.