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October 12, 2012


Speakers Bureau seeks volunteers for community outreach

By Theresa Fitzgerald, Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy’s Speakers Bureau Program is a community outreach initiative supported by Army Regulation and managed by the Public Affairs Office (PAO). It provides community organizations such as schools, veterans organizations and civic groups, with speakers for meetings or events.

The program seeks to increase public awareness of the mission and programs of Fort McCoy and to build and maintain positive relationships with surrounding communities.

All speaking requests are submitted to the PAO, where they are screened for eligibility and to ensure the request meets Army Regulation guidelines. The PAO will determine which registered speaker best suits the event depending on the requested topic.

Many speaker requests are received for patriotic observances such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Throughout the year other requests are also received to provide information about ongoing activities at Fort McCoy, such as natural resources, employment, current and future missions.

The Office of the Chief Public Affairs prepares speeches for patriotic observances; these are available to speakers to use as written or to customize to target the specific audience.

Tim Wilder, Endangered Species Biologist for Fort McCoy’s Natural Resources Branch, has been a member of the Speakers Bureau for years.

“The Speakers Bureau promotes Fort McCoy in a good light; it is a great public relations tool, Wilder said. “The program helps educate the public that the Army manages natural resources on Fort McCoy in a manner that doesn’t affect the training going on at the installation.”

Soldiers and civilians working at Fort McCoy can register to participate for the voluntary program.

The process begins by contacting PAO at 608-388-2407 to receive application materials. Application information will be used to prepare an introductory biography, which, in turn, will be provided to the organizations requesting speaker support.

Before accepting a speaking engagement, the speaker first must ensure that it does not interfere with workload/mission commitments and have supervisor approval if the request is during duty hours.

When he was mobilized at Fort McCoy as the mobilization command sergeant major, Jeffrey Uhlig, Community Recreation Division chief at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, supported the Speakers Bureau Program by speaking at schools and military-affiliated organizations.

Uhlig said, “It was an honor and a privilege to be able to tell the Army story; it was enjoyable to be able to interact with the public.”

“I feel it is extremely important that veterans, both past and present, are recognized and continue to be recognized for their service to our great nation,” he said. “Everyone needs to understand the importance of taking the opportunity to speak at various events to recognize the accomplishments of the veterans and the support of the public.”

Melissa Frost, counselor at Sparta Meadowview Middle School, has requested a speaker from the installation for their Veterans Day Program for the past six years.

“We request a speaker from Fort McCoy because the speakers are very professional, are always on time and it benefits having someone present a speech that is relevant to the message given,” Frost said. “The speech is age-appropriate for the students as well as the teachers and invited community members.”

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