By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Fort McCoy formalized its partnership with Tomah and Sparta as
a written agreement when
representatives of the three communities signed the Army Community
Covenant at McCoy's July 2.
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander
Col. David E. Chesser (at podium) speaks at the Army Community
Covenant signing ceremony. Youth who attend the Fort McCoy
Summer Youth Camp were seated front and center to get a
birds-eye view of the ceremony. (Photo
by Billy Cargile)
Mayors John Sund of Sparta and Ed Thompson of Tomah represented
their cities at the ceremony. Fort McCoy Senior Mission Commander Maj.
Gen. James R. Sholar, and Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E.
Chesser and Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. M.
Kevin Dubois completed the members of the official party and signed the
covenant on behalf of Fort McCoy.
The Fort McCoy Child and Youth Services program also brought
along youth to witness and to show family member support for the
Sund said the city of Sparta appreciates the relationship
between Sparta and Fort McCoy.
"The city of Sparta is, as it always has been, a staunch
supporter of Fort McCoy and the men and women of the armed services at
Fort McCoy and to their families," he said. "The city of
Sparta welcomes all the Soldiers and their families to partake of the
recreational facilities of the city. Our schools are open to all
families. Our employers welcome those seeking work. Our churches
welcome visitors and new members."
The city of Sparta appreciates all that Fort McCoy has to offer
and will continue to support Fort McCoy, its personnel and their
families with open arms, Sund said.
Thompson said he was truly excited and the covenant was a great
thing for Fort McCoy and the cities of Tomah and Sparta.
"It's been an honor for me," he said. "I'm
excited about this covenant. Anything we can do in Tomah to help Fort
McCoy to show off our city ... I really hope we can make this covenant
bigger and better than it's ever been."
Community Covenant is a chance for Fort McCoy to recognize the
ties and bonds it has with the communities of Sparta and
Col. David E.
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander
Thompson also noted that personnel at Fort McCoy are welcome to
come to Tomah to visit and use their businesses and services.
Chesser thanked everyone for taking time out of their busy
schedules to help recognize the importance of the partnership between
the local communities and Fort McCoy.
"The Army Community Covenant initiative is designed to
draw attention to these critical partnerships," he said.
"Army installations and the supporting communities work together
to improve the quality of life for the Soldiers, their families and
the civilian work force, as well as the communities as a whole."
The Army Family Covenant, which was signed in November by the
installation leadership and its Soldiers recognizes that although
Soldiers are the strength of the nation, they derive their strength
from the family unit. The Army Community Covenant recognizes that the
strength of the family emanates, in large part, from the support of
the local communities.
Together we are committed to
building strong communities.
We, the community, recognize:
commitment Soldiers and their families are making every day.
strength of Soldiers comes from the strength of their
strength of families is supported by the strength of the
strength of the community comes from the support of
employers, educators, civic and business leaders and its
We the community are committed to:
partnerships that support the strength, resilience and
readiness of Soldiers and their families.
in the implementation of the Army Family Covenant.
"The Army Community Covenant is a chance for Fort McCoy to
recognize the ties and bonds it has with the communities of Sparta and
Tomah," he said. "These communities, for the past 99 years,
supported the installation, as it has grown from a remote camp back in
1909 to the major Army installation it is today."
communities have provided great support over the years. Chesser said
examples have ranged from Tomah's 801 Woodridge military family
housing to Sparta being home to a large portion of the installation's
communities have steadfastly supported Fort McCoy by inviting them
into their communities, often providing servicemembers with free or
reduced costs to attend their events or use their businesses.
said Fort McCoy has reciprocated in kind by allowing members of the
local communities to use Pine View Recreation Area and Whitetail Ridge
Ski Area facilities and helping those facilities generate sufficient
revenue to remain open and support the members of the Fort McCoy
communities supported a public/private initiative to build a
recreational lodging facility, family activity center and storage
facility on the post. Chesser said after this project is completed it
will help support the quality of life at Fort McCoy.
conclusion, I will pledge Fort McCoy will, as it has for the past
(almost) 100 years, be a good neighbor to the surrounding communities
-- communities that have steadfastly supported Fort McCoy throughout
the years," he said. "I look forward to working together
with the leaders on issues that will benefit our Soldiers, their
families, our civilian work force and the local community."
everyone in attendance for their support.
"We're a community-based Army," he said. "We
would never want to separate ourselves from that. We want to
capitalize on that. And the community covenant we are going to sign ...
is a reflection of the bond between this great, old post, which will
be 100 years old next year, and the two great surrounding communities
of Sparta and Tomah."
The personnel here today are laying the groundwork for the next
"We should never underestimate or diminish the importance
of what we do," he said.
The relationship is much larger than the economic piece, he
said. It's about quality of life for permanently assigned Soldiers and
their families. It's also about quality
of life for the Soldiers and their families who pass through the
installation, many of whom are on their way to dangerous places to
Fort McCoy leadership personnel
and mayors of the neighboring cities of Sparta and Tomah put
pens to paper as they sign the Army Community Covenant. Pictured
left to right are: Fort McCoy Senior Mission Commander Maj. Gen.
James R. Sholar, Sparta Mayor John Sund, Tomah Mayor Ed
Thompson, Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser
and Fort McCoy Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj.
M. Kevin Dubois. (Photo
by Billy Cargile)
"It's about an affair of the heart," he said.
"It's about being on the same team."
"Some communities, over time, have been much less
supportive than those surrounding Fort McCoy," he said.
"That has not been an issue here. Again we can all be really
proud of that."
The ceremony gave an opportunity to say thanks to the Soldiers
and their families who are serving in a time when the United States
has been at war for a long time, he said.
"The agreement has always been out there, but we're just
going to put it down on paper so it will provide all of us with the
importance of what we're doing," Sholar said.
Capt. Neil Hogie of Fort McCoy Headquarters Company served as
the narrator for the ceremony and introduced the members of the
official party as he read the covenant while they signed it.
J. Randall Robinson, the director of the Installation
Management Command (IMCOM) West Region, represented the IMCOM at the
July 2 ceremony.
Sholar thanked him for attending the ceremony and how he has
acted as a champion for Fort McCoy over the years and partnered with
the installation on many of the improvements that have occurred.
Robinson said he was sad that Fort McCoy transitioned from his
region, effective July 1, but noted the installation will have great
support from a great staff of people in its new region, the IMCOM
"The people here are helping out," Robinson said.
"They're great communities and it's a great partnership."
More information about the Army Community Covenant can be found
at the Web site http://www.acsim.army.mil/communitycovenant.
The site features a list of organizations and programs, which
currently support Army Soldiers and their families.
No federal endorsement is implied.