By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Billy Mills was introduced Tuesday evening as the new president of the Central Texas-Fort Hood chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army.
Mills, who owns Modern TV and Appliance, said he wasn't going to push, shove or brow beat, but called upon members to get involved.
"We need some new ideas," he said. "We need some new workers."
In its 53-year history, the local chapter has grown to one of the largest in the world, uprooting the Fort Bragg, N.C.'s hold on the title in 2009. The chapter has had 36 presidents, all whose duty was to serve.
"We're here to serve at the will of the commanding general and the corps sergeant major for one thing and one thing only - and that is to support our soldiers and their families," Mills said.
Mills said he didn't think there was a person in the room at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center "who doesn't love our Army and Great Place."
"Love our Army, love our soldiers, love III Corps and Fort Hood," Mills said.
Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, was the meeting's guest speaker and spoke of the "legendary" support Central Texas provides Fort Hood. It is that support that draws so many service members to Fort Hood, compels more than 90 percent of families to remain in the area when their soldiers deploy and causes a large retiree population to remain, he said.
Nothing is more important than sound mind, body and spirit for service members and their families and that is an issue leaders will continue to passionately care for, Campbell said. Families are the core of strength of the U.S. Army and they will continue to receive the support they deserve.
Fort Hood has seen a change in force recently, the general added, but local government and business leaders should not be alarmed as the post's sheer size has made it a national asset that will always have soldiers and families needing support.
It was announced that the chapter's geographic area has expanded to Brazos County to the east and Menard and Mason counties to the west.
Goals for the chapter include enhancing the relationship with Fort Hood and all its units, including Reserve and National Guard units visiting for training, and working more to include younger, up-and-coming community members.
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the chapter's annual awards were distributed:
Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas B. Hayes/Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph B. Bufford Jr. Award: Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Linton, senior noncommissioned officer for the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Gen. Robert M. Shoemaker Award: Susan Jones.
Brig. Gen. James I. King Award: Bradley Whitis.
Roy J. Smith Award: Bill and Anna Crawford.