By Billie Garner (Fort Carson)March 14, 2013
DENVER -- Fort Carson's senior military leader and the city of Aurora leaders pledged their commitment to continue to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families during an Army Community Covenant signing ceremony March 8 at the state capitol.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, then commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, hosted the covenant signing with Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and other area leaders.
"Today is another historic day for our military community as we strengthen the already strong bonds between Fort Carson and the city of Aurora with the signing of this covenant," said Anderson.
The covenant uniting the civilian community of Aurora with its military neighbors at Fort Carson was signed by Civilian Aide Emeritus to the Secretary of the Army William J. Hybl; Anderson; Hogan; Jeff Thompson, chairman of the board, Aurora Chamber of Commerce; George H. Peck, senior vice president, Aurora Chamber of Commerce; and Wendy Mitchell, president and CEO, Aurora Economic Development Council.
In the former Supreme Court chambers, officials signed the Army Community Covenant, which was formed in 2008 by the Secretary of the Army to construct shared connections and strengthen relationships between Soldiers, Families and their local communities.
Anderson said Fort Carson leadership continues to be amazed by the contributions of the Aurora community, citing the Adopt-A-School program; supporting and participating in the Armed Forces Day Concert; the Aurora Veterans Salute; the Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon; the Anschutz Medical Campus; Aurora Defense Council and other local events.
"I have not seen such outstanding support like this anywhere else in the Army in my over 31 years of service," he said.
"(This) community covenant signing ceremony solidifies our relationship with the surrounding communities and Fort Carson," said Hogan.
The mayor said it made sense to incorporate the covenant signing into the Aurora Day at the Capitol event. The city of Aurora, the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora Economic Development Council hosted Aurora Day at the Capitol, which also included observing the state legislature in session and a discussion on key issues by statewide officials and members of the legislative delegation.
The covenant signing was arranged by Fort Carson leaders, the Aurora mayor's office and the El Pomar Foundation, said Terrance McWilliams, director of military support for the El Pomar Foundation and the emcee for the ceremony.
The Army Community Covenant promotes and upholds state and community partnerships with the Army to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and Families, both at their current duty stations and when they transfer to other military installations.
The covenant accomplishes several goals to include recognizing the volunteer service of individuals in the community, the public's contributions and also displays the Soldiers' gratitude for the ongoing support of their local communities.
"The covenant also establishes a formal commitment of support by local communities that is not limited to the active-duty Army, but also includes the Guard and Reserve and all military services," said McWilliams.
The covenant is "an exchange of commitments between a community and an installation to support their military members and Families who are doing their service to the nation," Anderson said. "It is also a commitment from the military to be good neighbors and responsible citizens, and to give back to the community as well."
He noted Soldiers and their Families could not have accomplished the series of deployments without the support of the communities in which they live.
The ceremony was Fort Carson's seventh community covenant signing with leaders from local communities -- Colorado Springs and Fountain, October 2009; Pueblo West, October 2011; Colorado Springs communities, May 2012; Pueblo community, August 2012; Custer County communities of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, September 2012; and Denver, January 2013.