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NEWS | Oct. 1, 2019

Eustis leaders, community collaborate for change

By Senior Airman Monica Roybal 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Fort Eustis Army Community Service office hosted its annual Army Family Action Plan conference at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Sept. 24-26, 2019.

The three-day conference allows community members and installation leaders to collaborate while tackling issues raised by concerned installation members throughout the fiscal year. 

“The Army Family Action Plan is the [U.S.] Army’s way of reaching out to individuals who live, work and play at the [installation] level,” said Donna Cloy, Army Community Service community readiness consultant. “We want to find out what community members think works well, what doesn’t work and if it’s not working, what they think needs to be done to fix it.”

Cloy explained that conference coordinators seek a range of community members to get a full spectrum of representatives and a variety of perspectives. The community members who serve as delegates include active duty service members, guard and reserve members, retirees, married and single members, dual-military family members, spouses and local civilians. 

According to Cloy, every year the ACS assembles work groups who will meet with subject matter experts for each of the issues they are examining. The groups then decide if the matter needs to be further assessed by installation leaders in order to improve quality of life for Soldiers, families and civilians.

“The groups took their roles very seriously and thoroughly analyzed the issues with the SME’s,” Cloy continued. “This really is an education process for them as well. I heard a lot of the delegates say that they learned so much about the process in which changes on the installation occur as well as programs or services that we offer to our community.”

The conference concluded with a forum where the groups presented Fort Eustis community concerns to the leaders for review. The leaders will then determine if the issues can be solved at the installation level or if it requires further review at a higher Army level.

The concerns presented to leaders were:

  • Reports of mold in Soldier barracks and factors contributing to its growth.
  • The need for sidewalks on Madison Avenue near General Stanford Elementary School and the Child Youth Program locations.
  • The process in which pregnant Soldiers without family members that is required for Basic Allowance for Housing approval.
  • Requests for updates on installation Force Support activities and how current activities may be better utilized by the community.

Fort Eustis leaders will begin work on the issues by assigning agencies to resolve each concern and will continue to monitor progress through continuous updates and quarterly meetings. Issues concerning Army policies, such as pregnant Soldiers without family requirements, may be funneled up to Army Installation Management Command for an in-depth evaluation. 

AFAP representatives will work with leaders to resolve installation-level concerns over the next year. All except one issue from last year’s conference remain open while the others were marked complete within six months, Cloy said.

“We want to show them that Fort Eustis and big Army is concerned about their needs and wants to resolve issues for the community,” Cloy added. “ACS is just the proponent for relaying information between community members and installation leaders and this program doesn’t work without our community members.”

One contributing member was U.S. Army Sgt. Ashton Van Roekel, 73rd Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) watercraft operator. 

“I think this conference is especially helpful when it comes to communication because there is no rank in the discussions, which allows people to have their voice heard and speak more openly on a matter that may be affecting them personally,” Van Roekel said. “I would recommend being a part of this conference to anyone who is able to attend next year because it’s important to help our fellow Soldiers as well as the Fort Eustis community as a whole, including service members’ families or anyone else who can’t get their voice heard.”

For more information or to submit a concern, visit call (757) 878-4955.