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Working together will ensure survival

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POSTED: November 20, 2012 6:00 p.m.

Do you or someone you know work at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield?

Does your business rely on sales to Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield?

Does your organization rely on business from service members, their families or the civilian workforce employed on Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield?

Do you want to ensure that Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield remain the $5.2 billion per year regional economic engine it is now?

If your answer to any one of these questions is yes, then it’s urgent that you join in fighting for that future. Fort Stewart’s future affects you, your children and grandchildren. Reductions in the Department of Defense now will take a toll on our major regional economic engine well into the future. We must all come together using a holistic approach in making the Coastal Georgia region a receptive place for the military. Such an approach will allow us to consider issues such as compatible use areas and joint land-use training areas, as well as the quality of life desired by soldiers and their families.

It is important to remind the Pentagon, Congress and the White House that we are the Army’s premier power projection platform on the East Coast and an Army Community of Excellence. Stewart/Hunter has been named a community of excellence five of the past nine years. To ensure that it remains at the top of the list, we have to work together to support soldiers and their families.

The region cannot just provide housing and expect that personnel assigned to Stewart/Hunter will choose to settle in the immediate area. The entire infrastructure must be reviewed and improved upon. Education, transportation, health care, entertainment, spouse employment opportunities and many other factors play a vital role in whether personnel assigned to our base will settle nearby or live in outlying areas.

Without additional involvement from community members and local businesses, the valuable link to decisionmakers who help to ensure the base’s survival and growth may be weakened.

Let your state and federal legislators know how you feel about things like sequestration, which will reduce Department of Defense spending by approximately $500 billion over the next 10 years. Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield will undoubtedly bear a portion of that reduction if it happens. To help or to learn more, call Paul Andreshak, executive director of Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter, at 408-6225 or email Director@FriendsofFtStewartandHunter.com.

Andreshak is the director of Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter.

 

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