By PFC Sarah AndersonFebruary 25, 2013
GREENVILLE, Ky. -- The Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, one of more than 60 facilities in the Kentucky National Guard, has gained national recognition in light of its environmental and fiscal restrictions to the Department of Defense.
Katherine Hammack, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment presented the Natural Resources Conservation award for large Army installations to the Kentucky Guard training center, Feb. 22, 2013 for its commitment to protecting the environment and becoming more sustainable. Kentucky's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini joined the staff at the Greenville, Ky.-based training center along with members of the Kentucky Guard command staff to receive the award.
"This is a great day for the Kentucky National Guard, and for Kentucky," said Tonini. "It's not often that we are blessed with such recognition from Washington. This award symbolizes not just our care and concern for the environment, but our stewardship to the taxpayer dollars."
The Army picks winners based on their work in natural resources conservation, cultural resources management, environmental quality, pollution prevention and environmental cleanup. Wendell Ford is among only six-army installations world wide to be selected for the fiscal year 2012 environmental awards.
"This effort is not only commendable, but is saving the installation tens-of-thousands of dollars in contracting costs each year," said Hammack.
According to Army officials, the recognition for environmental programs in the Army, which account for a billion and a half dollars of the Army's total operating budget, is increasingly important, since stewardship is a critical part of the Army's plans to transform to a lighter, faster, more efficient 21st century fighting force.
On an air tour of the facilities Hammack and Tonini got an aerial view of the training center grounds, previously coal mining terrain. During the flight, Hammack received the opportunity to see the growth of the facility and the improvements the Kentucky Guard has incorporated into the 10,000-acre site.
Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center has gained recognition for many of its environmental success including; pallet recycling program, sponsorship of the Hunters Feeding the Hungry program, partnership with the American Chestnut Foundation, and prescribed burn management program. These projects, among others that the Kentucky Guard leadership is proud to share with local, state and federal agencies exemplify the cooperation to cost-effectively improve the environment.
"The training Center's native grass restoration program has had a positive impact on wildlife populations," said Hammack. "As mentioned, the successes recognized here today have saved the army a great deal of money."
"During my career the facility has grown from just a few acres of rough hewn strip mine land to one of the greatest training facilities the United States military has to offer," said Tonini. "The Ford Training Center is indeed the crown jewel for Ky. and it has benefitted from countless initiatives and programs to make it the best."
The site will go on to compete with the Navy/Marine Corps, Air Force and other Defense agencies for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award later this year.