Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri –August 29, 2018– On Thursday, August 23, nearly 200 business, governmental, civic, and military leaders and community members from the Fort Leonard Wood (FLW) region gathered at the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership’s (SOP) annual meeting.
This year’s SOP annual meeting theme of “Enduring and Emerging Partnerships; Focused on the Future” reflected the region’s commitment to national defense and military readiness by further strengthening relationships between FLW and the communities; enhancing quality of life services for servicemembers and their families and emerging opportunities to maximize available resources through savings or cost avoidance and creating efficiencies at FLW.
Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson served as the event’s keynote speaker during which he praised the local communities, Fort Leonard Wood, and the SOP for winning the 2017 Army Community Partnership award. He celebrated the significant work the Missouri legislators accomplished last year in support of service-members, their families and veterans and called for all Missourians to continue the important work of advancing the state in the two distinct areas that were outlined in a letter to the National Association of Governors by all three Service Secretaries earlier this year: public education for military children and military spouse employment.
“We must do our best to bring community, state, and installation leaders together to support the critical missions carried out by FLW, by doing so the entire region will prosper. The Army, and your communities, have a long history of being neighbors; however, there has never been a time when it has been more important to identify and emphasize the responsibilities we share as neighbors,” said Parson.
Maj. General Kent Savre, Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard, also spoke to the record number of attendees about the importance of FLW’s role in national defense.
In addition to State Senators Dan Brown and Sandy Crawford and State Representative Steve Lynch other speakers included Kent Thomas, SOP Executive Director; Joe Driskill, Missouri Military Advocate and ADC Vice President; Jim Holland from the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment and Mike Dubois from Kit Bond Strategies.
Driskill reiterated the importance of the recent successful legislative season by bringing attention to the many pieces of military-friendly legislation that were passed.
“The Missouri legislature passed legislation that would exempt members of the National Guard and Reserves from paying state income tax on military income, extended the time limit for participating in Missouri’s Show Me Heroes program, and established the Missouri Military Community Reinvestment Program through the Department of Economic Development that will assist military communities in supporting and sustaining their installations, encourage the communities to initiate coordinated response programs and action plans in advance of future federal government realignment and closure decisions, and support community efforts to attract new or expanded military missions,” said Driskill.
The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is a non-profit organization formed in 2013 as a way to unite the work of local governments, businesses, civic organizations and citizens in a 4-county region to ensure the long-term sustainability of Fort Leonard Wood (FLW). The SOP allows the region to work together to improve the region’s quality of life measures and business climate that also support and enable FLW mission success, sustainment, and military readiness while advocating for new military and federal missions all as part of regional efforts to strengthen the Fort Leonard Wood region.