While Killeen may have had the largest contingent of Fort Hood-area public officials to attend the Associaton of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights also were represented at the event.
Copperas Cove and Copperas Cove Independent School District both sent their top officers to the AUSA event along with some elected officials.
City Manager Andrea Gardner and Councilman Gary Kent represented the city during the week while Superintendent Joseph Burns and school board Trustee Joan Manning participated on behalf of the school district.
It is important for the entities to be present for AUSA and show their support for the Army, Gardner and Burns said.
The event allows the city to get a better understanding of military operations, build support for the men and women who live in Copperas Cove, and gives officials a chance to speak with its federal representatives, Gardner said.
“It has been very important and been very beneficial to the city over the years,” Gardner said.
While in D.C., Kent and Gardner visited with the area’s federal representatives about the continuation of grants, water projects and water rights among other issues surrounding the city government.
Since the district participates in National Association of Federally Impacted Schools on an annual or bi-annual basis, it spends its time learning more about the Army and understanding how it can help soldiers and their students, Burns said.
“When we go to AUSA, we are participating in meetings with the leadership of the Army, and sharing concerns we have and celebrating their successes,” Burns said. “This gives us an opportunity to hear what is happening on a national level, but it also gives us some insight on what we can do locally to help.”
The National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, on the other hand, provides the district a chance to talk to its federal officials while discussing district funding, Burns said.
Harker Heights sent a smaller group — just one man — but that one man was Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock who said he had a positive visit and was glad he attended the AUSA meeting on behalf of the Harker Heights government.
He told the City Council on Tuesday that it was a good and productive meeting that left him with a positive outlook.
“Listening to the rhetoric there, everything seems positive for our area, I didn’t hear anything negative,” he said. “Fort Hood looks well. It’s good to have the chief of staff of the Army who used to be a III Corps commander. He thinks very highly of Fort Hood.”
Aycock was referring to Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who spoke during the event.