Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton joined the Long County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday for the group’s monthly breakfast.
He spoke to those in attendance about the post’s fiscal impact on the area. Fort Stewart has an economic impact of $7.13 billion on the local economy, Milton said.
In Long County, 692 residents are employed by Fort Stewart and their annual salaries total $30,617,318. Additionally, 221 residents who are retired from the military live in Long County. Their annual pay is 4,440,000, Milton said. The Long County School System receives $158,577 annually from Fort Stewart.
The garrison commander said that the future of the installation is stable despite a projected military downsizing of 50,000 troops during the next five years. Fort Stewart is projected to gain approximately 300 soldiers during the next three or four years.
Currently, Milton said, there are no planned deployments for Fort Stewart, but troops from the installation are available for a deployment should the president decide to send forces to Afghanistan or a region close to Iraq.
The garrison commander also stressed the importance of involving the military in the community and said he is grateful for the support the troops receive from Long County.
“Ya’ll just love all over our soldiers that we have over here in Long County. … The strength of our Army is our soldiers, but the strength of our soldiers is their families,” Milton said.
He praised the Long County School System, which, he said, is supportive when military students transfer from another state.
After Milton finished his presentation, he accepted a gift basket from chamber President Gaynell Garrason.
In other business, Garrason:
• Thanked Altamaha Credit Union, the County Line Barn Feed and Tack, and Diversity Health Clinic for sponsoring the breakfast and meeting.
• Announced that the Long County/Ludowici Christmas parade is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and the Ludowici Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 8.