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Local AUSA striving to grow
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The Association of the United States Army Coastal Empire chapter is looking for a few (thousand) more dedicated volunteers to best serve the military community on Georgia’s coast.

“One of our missions is to grow the membership,” AUSA Coastal Empire chapter president Mark Baker said. “The biggest objective is to take care of soldiers and their families, active duty as well as retired, in the community.”

The local AUSA chapter currently has 610 members.

“Some chapters have 5,000 or more members,” Baker said.

Baker said he and chapter officers plan to “significantly” expand the organization’s membership by generating more business involvement. He said AUSA officers will contact Savannah area businesses to persuade them to join the local chapter along with corporations in Liberty County that have been supportive of the military.

Baker and a new slate of officers were installed in March. The new AUSA president said Kathey Knott, the chapter’s vice president of family programming, goes “above and beyond” in her volunteer role.

Knott said her involvement with AUSA is her way of helping folks in the community.

“I love what (AUSA) stands for and the support they give the military as a whole,” she said. “We don’t just serve the Army we serve the national guard and reserves.”

Knott, who describes herself as “a civilian affiliated with the military,” works to support military families.

“I’m just really excited about the wealth of information AUSA has to offer,” she said. “We are a private, non-profit educational organization.”

Knott said AUSA’s publication, Army Magazine, featured the 3rd ID in its April 2009 issue. The story, titled “The Closers: Taking on the Advise-and-Assist Mission,” highlights the Army’s ongoing transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn as American forces draw down in Iraq and turn bases over to the Iraqi government. 3rd ID Commanding General Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo was interviewed for the piece, she added.

Baker and Knott are hopeful residents will stop to chat with AUSA members this weekend during Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield’s Independence Day celebrations. Chapter members, including Knott, will man a tent after 4 p.m. Friday at Donovan Field on Fort Stewart, and will have a table after 4 p.m. Saturday on the Family Day Field at Hunter Army Airfield.

In addition, AUSA will participate in the Education and Community Fair from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 28 at Fort Stewart’s Club Stewart.

“We are planning to produce a play on April 15, 2011, at the Woodruff Theater (Fort Stewart),” Knox added.

Baker said the play is titled “The life of the military youth.”

Information pertaining to auditions will be posted on the AUSA website:

Knox also is coordinating a visit from the national AUSA Director of Family Programs Sylvia Kidd in November, Baker said.
“Sylvia Kidd will come down to speak to Family Readiness Group leaders,” he said.

Baker, a retired command sergeant major, said most of the chapter’s officers are veterans. Chapter officers include Vice President Otis Smith, Secretary Carl Johnson and Treasurer Alexander Gongora.

For more information call 385-8057.


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