YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Last year, we gathered community members and senior leaders together to sign the Army Family Covenant. That promise is our guarantee to provide a quality of life commensurate with the service of our great Soldiers and Family Members. I want to update you on what we have done since we signed that agreement Dec. 13.

As a result of instituting the Covenant, Child and Youth Services discontinued charging the $18 annual registration. CYS also offers free and discounted care to children of Soldiers and civilians deployed in support of the global war on terror.

Family Readiness Groups have free child care available at our Child Development Centers during their meetings as a result of the Covenant.

Army-wide, millions of dollars have been invested into creating permanent jobs to support our FRGs. These FRG Assistants are now "on the books" at each unit.

The Army is also taking better care of our community members enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. Respite care can now be paid for on a case-by-case basis.

Many other community improvements signal our unwavering commitment to the Army Families. In recreation, we continue to improve facilities and offer a better quality of life. For example, in March we purchased 48 new fitness machines for Collier Field House and Trent Gymnasium. Later this summer, Trent Gym will finish extensive renovations. At K-16 Air Base, we're constructing an indoor swimming pool. Yongsan Garrison's outdoor pool just completed renovations and opened for the summer this past weekend.

Work continues to normalize tours of duty and make an assignment to Korea more "family friendly." The current Yongsan school expansion project will increase the number of classrooms in our Department of Defense Dependent Schools to meet the demands of more command sponsored Family Members.

We continue to renovate barracks and Army Family Housing to increase quality of life for all the members of our community.

Besides winning third place in the 2008 Army Communities of Excellence competition, we have even more impressive credentials when it comes to taking care of our families. Did you know the Yongsan Child Development Center was re-accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children' This means our facility exceeded new, tougher standards for child development and scored some of the highest marks in the Army. For you, this means you can rest assured your children are in good hands.

We have had many of these programs in the works long before the Army Family Covenant. But, as with any program, there is always room for improvement. The Army Family Covenant is a great way to solidify our relationship with you, the customer.

U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan is an Army Community of Excellence because our employees listen to you. We promise that we will continue to do everything in our power to live up to the covenant we signed with you.

If you have a suggestion to help make this an even better community, visit the Garrison Web site (http://yongsan.korea.army.mil). In the upper right-hand column you'll see a link to the Commander's Hotline. Click the link and fill out the form. I guarantee I will read your comment or suggestion.
Army Strong!