OLYMPIA, Wash. (March 26, 2013) -- The commander of 17th Fires Brigade, Col. Ken Kamper, and Col. Steve Fletcher, the rear provisional commander of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade, met with city of Olympia Mayor, Stephen H. Buxbaum, March 14, at Olympia's city hall to discuss the importance of relationships and partnership between the city and the Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The meeting marked a handoff of the 593rd Sust. Bde.'s long relationship with Olympia to the 17th Fires Bde., as I Corps realigns the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Community Connection Program, which partners military units with local cities.

The 17th Fires Bde. has worked closely with the city of Tumwater for nearly three years as part of the Community Connection Program. With the reactivation of the 7th Infantry Division and the realignment of commands, the "Thunderbolt" brigade will expand its partnership to include the city of Olympia.

The three leaders agreed that the success of the partnership is achieved through relationships.

"It's all relational," said Kamper. "We want our Soldiers to be a part of your community and be good citizens; and we'd like to show the citizens of your community how great our Soldiers are."

The long-standing partnership that the city previously held with the 593rd Sustainment Brigade paved the way for the relationship between the city and the military to continue with 17th Fires Bde.

"We desire to be a connected and military friendly city for Soldiers," said Buxbaum. "We want them to come to our events and enjoy being a part of Olympia."

With more than 21 percent of active duty personnel living in Thurston County, according to a recent South Sound Military and Communities Partnership study, it is important for our military to stay connected with the community, said Kamper.

Buxbaum closed the meeting communicating his pleasure in developing the relationship with 17th Fires Brigade, along with the city of Tumwater, and hopes that the Soldiers will feel at home in Olympia.

Currently the unit has plans to get involved in the Olympia Downtown Association and other civil organizations throughout the city.