MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (5/20/13) – The Muhlenberg County Extension Homemakers teamed up with the National Guard's Wendell H. Ford Training Center on Saturday, May 18th, 2013. The whole purpose of the Military Appreciation Day was to increase communication between the county and the center.
The event, which was held at the training center, was designed to assist in educating soldiers about some of the many services and events available to service men and women.
The event was coordinated by the extension service, area businesses and colleges, along with many others who wanted to let our brave servicemen and women know that Muhlenberg County is ready, willing and able to offer them many services and activities they may not be aware of.
Lt. Col. Richard Palmar, Base Operations Manager for the Wendell H. Ford Regional Center, told SurfKY News that he believes events like this one "develop a partnership between the installation we have here at the Wendell H. Ford Training Center and the Greenville, Central City, and the Muhlenberg County area." Palmar noted.
"This area has a lot to offer, whether our men and women are working here full time, or soldiers training here part time...and even those coming in from other states for short term training. This area, without a doubt, has a lot to offer our soldiers. This is a way of allowing our soldiers to learn exactly what's here. We have a lot of businesses and non-profits here today from the Muhlenberg community, informing our people about a lot of outreach programs from the community." Lt. Col. Palmar explained.
Palmar added that he was happy that there were "several members of the Muhlenberg County school system on hand, along with representatives of local health clubs, businesses, restaurants and other area establishments. It shows what the community has to offer long term and short term. A number of the soldiers that come through our training facility are from all over the state, from Pikeville to Benton, and everywhere in between. We, of course, also have a number of soldiers training here from other states. We have a fire fighting training center across the road at the National Response Preparedness Center. We had eleven states represented in that training operation this past week, so we are proud to bring a national level event to the Muhlenberg County area," Palmar added.
Palmar noted that although the National Preparedness Training Center held this past week was not a part of the appreciation day, "those involved noted they are very happy with the installation. They are very happy with what the area has to offer." Palmar noted.
Mary Devine, of The Muhlenberg County Extension Homemakers said that "this is a great way to help show our county's support for these dedicated men and women’s service to our country. We just want to let the soldiers to know the county is a good place to live," Devine SurfKY News.
"At this time the event is only open to military personal at the Ford Center but we are tentatively planning an event in the fall open to military. That's in the planning stages and will be a much bigger event." Lt. Col. Palmar noted that the center wants to be involved with the community and has been a great help.
Representatives from various community organizations and businesses were on hand to discuss numerous services and events many soldiers may not be aware of.
Staff Sgt. Quatrina Bilbrey of Clarksville told SurfKY News that she "has been stationed here since 2004, so it was just good to see the support of the community."
Tammy Piper, Director of the Central City Wellness Center, noted that several soldiers stationed at the center were very interested in finding out more about what it has to offer.
"They have been very interested in our prices for membership, along with activities for kids, fitness classes, and also about the many downtown events coming up this summer." Piper said.
Ray Hornandes, another soldier from Clarksville, said he has been stationed at the Wendell H. Ford Center for eight years. Hornandes said he was excited to learn about the public library and Wi-Fi service available there.
Sharon Davis of the Central City Library, noted that many of the soldiers said they plan to make use of the facility's Wi-Fi access.
"We’re very glad to be here, and very glad to explain all that the libraries in the county have to offer," Davies said.
Judging from the success of this past weekend's event, there will likely be more events this fall and even bigger crowds are expected, giving county residents and businesses even more chances to meet the many men and women stationed at the Ford Center, and increase the amount of interaction between the National Guard and Muhlenberg businesses and services.
Photos provided by Paul McRee
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