Four more Central Texas residents were welcomed into the Fort Hood Good Neighbor family last Wednesday night during a dinner at Club Hood.
A Good Neighbor is someone, who through sustained and exemplary efforts, improves the quality of life for Fort Hood soldiers, said Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood. The dinner is a way for Fort Hood to express its profound gratitude.
“It’s a small token to symbolize our debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” he said.
Recognized were Killeen restaurant owner Jackson Huang, Gatesville rancher Carla Manning and Harker Heights couple Ted Smith and Caryl Ciccone-Smith. Each will get their portrait displayed in the III Corps Headquarters lobby alongside the more than 40 other individuals recognized since the program began in 1996.
“Mr. Jackson Huang has been a part of American soldier life in one way or another for 46 years,” said Campbell.
In 1977, Huang moved to Texas and in the 1980s, with the help of TJ Mills and Bernie Beck, opened the Taiwan Dragon on Avenue G. The restaurant’s walls are covered with pictures of soldiers and officers, including one of then-Col. Raymond Odierno, said Campbell.
“I always try to give my best to the Armed Forces,” said Huang in his remarks. “I hope that I have made a difference.”
Manning, who joined her husband, Steve Manning, as a Fort Hood Good Neighbor, said it was truly an honor to be recognized.
As a member of the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce, she serves as the military affairs representative and has worked to strengthen community relations with Fort Hood. Manning has organized events, including the Gatesville Military Appreciation Fish Fry, which grew from 150 attendees in 2008 to more than 500 last year.
“It’s been my pleasure to work with III Corps and Fort Hood since 2009 when Division West came to Fort Hood,” Manning said. “I’ve made so many friends and it’s wonderful.”
The Smiths have hosted many events for soldiers and families, including the Fall Festival for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Ted Smith first moved to Fort Hood in 1974 to work in the Judge Advocate General’s office.
He has remained in the area since then, serving a variety of roles in the Harker Heights community.
“It’s a joy to work with these people and these young soldiers,” said Ted Smith. “I’m so grateful for them and what they do.”