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Area showcases assets to military community
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A soldier samples German cuisine at the city of Hinesville’s Oktoberfest booth. Soldiers visited the showcase to get information on activities throughout the Coastal Empire. - photo by Photo by Elise Vanpool/Fort Stewart PAO
Several hundred soldiers, military spouses and their dependents browsed the semiannual Community Showcase on Wednesday at Club Stewart. The showcase’s 67 participants offered military families information on recreational activities, support services and educational programs available in Southeast Georgia and nearby Florida.
Participants included county and city chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, law enforcement, military support groups, local school systems, civic and social organizations.
“It’s all about supporting soldiers and their families,” said Public Affairs specialist Patrick Young.
Earlier in the day, county and city leaders attended a regional information forum executive session at Club Stewart.
Representatives from Liberty, Long, Tattnall, Evans and Bryan counties met with Fort Stewart’s command officers to show their support for military families and to sign a hurricane preparedness agreement, Young explained. September is National Preparedness Month.
Young said Gen. Tony Cucolo also spoke to community leaders during the morning forum about the 2nd Brigade’s upcoming deployment to Iraq.
While Cucolo is deployed, several commanders along with Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton will continue to lead at Fort Stewart. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips will serve as the one-star senior commander during the deployment. Lt. Col. Stuart McRae will be the 3rd ID rear detachment commander, according to Fort Stewart Media Chief Kevin Larson.
Young said the community showcase was organized to showcase activities that military families can enjoy before their soldier deploys and while their solider is away.
“We have to plan even more (events) when our troops deploy so our families have plenty to do,” said Kathy Milley, of Family Morale Welfare and Recreation.
“We’re here to show our support,” said Kim Dievold, a drama instructor with the Bryan County School System’s community education program.
Dievold and Martha Hall, director of community education for Bryan County schools, offered information on after-school programs, art and drama classes. Dievold said many military-connected children attend Bryan County schools.
 “The showcase is great,” said Eleecia Hood, whose husband is assigned to 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion. “We’re taking information back to our family readiness support group leaders.”
Michele Lewis, whose husband also is assigned to the 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, said the showcase shows which area organizations will help make deployments easier for military families.
Richmond Hill Police Cpl. Susan Willis said she was sharing information with soldiers and their families about child safety seats and other safety programs.
Maj. Jeremy Lewis, who is assigned to the 87th CSSB, recently moved to the Hinesville area. Lewis said the showcase helped familiarize him with Southeast Georgia.
“I can grab stuff for the wife and see what we can do on the weekends,” he said.
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