It’s not a 40-hour-per-week job.
The three women who serve as school liaison officers on Fort Hood love what they do, however, and are there when the mission needs them.
Not only does this trio provide in-processing and out-processing for soldiers and their families, they attend school board meetings and other functions in nine districts across the region.
“It’s all about supporting Fort Hood families,” said Elizabeth Davenport, who has been an SLO for over three years. “We’re the boots on the ground for the garrison” when it comes to education matters, especially when that impacts military families.
Davenport is the mother of military-connected children, all of whom attend schools in the Killeen Independent School District. On the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, she can be found sitting at the curved desk in the KISD board room, listening intently to the discussion among the board members.
Those meetings are open to the public, but Davenport finds attending gives her a look at the “behind the scenes” operations of the school district. She admires how much the school board members care about the kids.
Terri Jones is a former Copperas Cove school teacher who previously worked as an SLO, took another job, then came back to Fort Hood. “My heart was here,” she said about her return to the SLO office.
In addition to attending the Copperas Cove Independent School District meetings, Jones works closely with Temple and Belton school districts.
The third member of the team is Angelica Salinas, who is not only the SLO for Lampasas, Salado and Florence school districts, she is the point-of-contact for the Adopt-a-School program, linking 115 schools throughout the nine districts served by the SLO office with units on Fort Hood.
The list of committees on which the three serve is daunting, and how they find time for themselves is amazing.
“We even text each other sometimes at night,” Davenport chuckled. “If we find a new resource we want to share or an article we need to read, we’ll let each other know.”
That sort of dedication makes life easier for soldiers and their families coming into Fort Hood.
Being able to provide peace of mind for families new to the area is important to the SLO team, so the soldiers can focus on their mission.
“We get calls from people moving here,” Davenport said. They ask about everything from the schools to whether there is a mall or activities for their children.
Whether sitting down one-on-one with the soldiers, or talking on the phone, Davenport explained the trio’s caring attitude: “We take them in our arms like family.”
The Fort Hood school liaison officers can be contacted at 254-288-7946. Office hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including training holidays. The office is closed on federal holidays.
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