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Fort Sill Soldier and Family Assistance Center

Lawton/Ft. Sill_The Army says the strength of its soldiers comes from the strength of their families.  So, leaders at Fort Sill are working to give support to them all as our soldiers fight in the Middle East.  Today, they signed a covenant pledging to provide soldiers and families with better healthcare, housing and counseling. 

The opening of the Soldier and Family Assistance Center is the beginning of the fulfillment of this pledge.  The center offers medical, legal and counseling services to soldiers returning from the battlefront.  It even provides them with job skill training if they decide to leave the service. 

Monday, Fort Sill officials signed the Army Family Covenant.  Its part of a $1.5 billion plan to improve the quality of life for Army soldiers and their families.  Fort Sill Garrison Commander Colonel Robert Bridgford says the core of the army lies with the soldiers families.  And, this covenant recognizes the sacrifices made on the home front while the Army is at war.  "It's just a commitment from the army saying we care just as much about you as we do about the soldiers," he says.

"The commitment of the soldiers and their families is why we have this volunteer force.  And we've got to put this emphasis on the families every bit as much as we do on the soldiers.  Because you may recruit a soldier, but you're going to retain a family," says Bridgford. 

National Guard Sergeant Michael Woods is glad to have the center.  He was Medivac'd from Iraq due to back injuries and, at first he wasn't sure what to do.  "Soldiers don't understand the resources that are out there and are available and sometimes we need a helping hand to find that...the families do too," he says. 

And, Woods says Fort Sill is really helping him recover from his injuries.  "Some of the best staff I've ever been around.  All the doctors I've dealt with have been real good to deal with.  They're doing their job - they're trying to help us all get back on our feet," he says.  And, that's exactly what it's designed for.  The center is just one of the many new projects at Fort Sill improving soldiers and their families' quality of life along with new playgrounds, a golf course and steps toward privatized housing.

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