Sharon M. McGavick Student Center on the campus of Clover Park Community College is again proving to be an important asset to the community. With its spacious facility and double screen media capability it was ideal for the Army Community Covenant ceremony.
Story and photos by Ed Kane
Civilian and military leaders, dignitaries and families attended the Army Community Covenant at Clover Park Technical College’s new Sharon M. McGavick Student Center on Friday May 2nd. The covenant is designed to enhance the already strong ties between military personnel form Ft. Lewis, the local U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard and their families with the surrounding Puget Sound municipalities. Ft Lewis, in large part due to the successful relationships with local communities, is among the most popular duty stations among soldiers and their families.
The Army Community Covenant has also been enacted at Columbus, Georgia, home of the sprawling Fort Benning, and will be signed at communities throughout the U.S. by the end of the year. The covenant reads as follows:
Together, we are committed to building strong communities.
We, the Community, recognize…
… The commitment Soldiers and Families are making every day.
… The strength of Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families.
… The strength of Families is supported by the strength of the Community.
… The strength of the Community comes from the support of Employers, Educators, Civic and Business leaders, and its Citizens.
We, the Community, are committed to…
… Building partnerships that support the strength, resilience, and readiness of Soldiers and their Families.
… Assisting in the implementation of the Army Family Covenant.
Mayor Douglas Richardson, who also serves in the Army Reserve with the rank of Brigadier General, represented Lakewood, host of the event. Speaking of the pride felt by the numerous surrounding communities, Richardson introduced a number of officials who later were invited to the stage to sign the official covenant. A total of 23 individuals committed their signatures to the document and their communities to the covenant. The featured speaker, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, was prevented from attending the ceremony by mechanical problems with his aircraft. Speaking in his stead was Jack Creighton, Washington State Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army. Also speaking was Congressman Adam Smith, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen and Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas.
Kimberly Wooldridge, the wife of a soldier at Ft. Lewis, spoke of the assistance she received from the local communities when she and her children were driven from their home by fire. in her husband’s absence. The support from the community was especially critical because her husband was serving in Iraq at the time.
Kimberly Wooldridge of Ft. Lewis related a story of how the community came to her aid when her house on the base burned, driving her and her children out. Her husband was serving in Iraq at the time.
Children lined the stage singing and waving flags at the start of the ceremony and for a group photo at its closing.
Mayor Ron Lucas of Steilacoom signs the covenant in his turn, along with mayors and other community and state leaders.
Mayor Douglas Richardson of the event’s host city, Lakewood, opened the ceremony to a room full of civilian and military leaders and families at the Sharon M. McGavick Student Center on the campus of Clover Park Community College.