NEWS | April 12, 2017

Creating strong communities through partnership

By 2nd Lt. Allison Egan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. - Joint Base Charleston Civic Leaders were given the opportunity to fly aboard a C-17 Globemaster III, March 16 and 17 to visit one of four other joint bases in the United States.

At Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, the Lowcountry leaders learned about the 49 installation-support functions, particularly in the specialized areas of training, medicine and technology.

From speaking with families at the Basic Military Training Coin Ceremony, to taking a moment of silence at the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, the many facilities of Joint Base San Antonio highlight the types of sacrifices service members, animals and their families make. Seeing families reunited at the end of BMT was especially moving for a few of Charleston’s civic leaders.

“It was my most emotional, celebratory and patriotic life experience yet,” said Sherrie Snipes-Williams, Charleston Promise Neighborhood chief executive officer. “I now understand why my father was so proud to have served in the United States Air Force.”

Though Joint Base San Antonio is comprised of a variety of training missions, it also maintains a mission of responsibility to care for the troops. The priority to develop and care for service members and their families is one that thrives in a community of partnership. At the Center for the Intrepid, the power of persistence is valued by both its patients and the staff who support them.

“I naively assumed that the most memorable portion of the trip would be hopping aboard a C-17 and experiencing something few other civilians can dream to do,” said Peter LaMotte, Chernoff Newman, senior vice president. “However, by the end of the two days I was genuinely changed in the way I looked at the sacrifices service members make for this country. You cannot tour a facility such as the Center for the Intrepid, Warrior and Family Support Center or the Brooke Army Medical Center and not have new appreciation and understanding for just how much our service members put on the line for the rest of us.”

At the CFI, the threefold mission of rehabilitation, education and research is facilitated by active duty Army medical staff, Department of Veteran’s Affairs employees, Department of the Army civilians and contract providers who work together to achieve a common goal of reintegration.

“I was equally humbled by the citizens who make it their purpose to support and rehabilitate these wounded warriors,” LaMotte said. “The civic leader tour may have been established to highlight the mission of the joint bases, but the reality for me was its ability to highlight just how much more everyday citizens can do to help our armed forces.”

Brig. Gen. Heather A. Pringle, Joint Base San Antonio commander, emphasized that joint missions come in many forms and are strongest when the military and its surrounding communities work together to serve each other. Pringle highlighted that as missions grow larger, so too must relationships between communities. At the Warrior and Family Support Center, a resilient philosophy of care provides an environment that encourages rehabilitation in a more comfortable setting.

“The civic leader tour gave us a peek under the curtain of complex joint base operations and inspiration for supporting Joint Base Charleston,” said Jennifer Howard, WestRock director of communications and marketing. 

Director Judith Markelz and her team operate the WFSC solely through donations and volunteer work, unraveling the many efforts behind a volunteer-based community.

 “The places were memorable, but the Soldiers and Airmen will forever leave a mark on my heart,” said Howard. “Articulate, enthusiastic, energetic, and proud to serve – they are humble people for whom I am profoundly grateful.”