By Kelsey Reichenberg
Staff Writer

Posted Nov 28, 2017 at 6:34 PM
Updated Nov 29, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Quarterly event promotes cooperation, understanding and communication between Fort Lee and local communities

COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Close to 80 Tri-City community leaders and staff from Fort Lee attended the Nov. 28 Civilian Military Council luncheon, hosted by the city of Colonial Heights at the Keystone Antique Truck and Tractor Museum.

As previously reported by The Progress-Index in 2011, the Civilian Military Council, established in 1986, promotes cooperation, understanding and communication between Fort Lee and local communities. The quarterly event brings together the Army post’s military and civilian leaders with representatives from city governments, schools, businesses, law enforcement, and firefighters from Colonial Heights, Chesterfield County, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Petersburg and Prince George County.

″[The Civilian Military Council luncheons] allow us to continue building the strong partnership we have between the local communities and Fort Lee,” said Colonial Heights City Manager Douglas Smith. “We also get the opportunity to meet different people from the military base and receive updates on activities going on locally.”

The event began with a singing performance by Tussing Elementary School students to honor the soldiers of Fort Lee. Later, following a luncheon catered by Texas Roadhouse, Managing Partner of DecideSmart Bob Holsworth presented attendees with information regarding the GO Virginia initiative — a bipartisan, business-led economic development initiative that aims to change the way Virginia’s diverse regions collaborate on economic and workforce development activities. Hemsworth described how the initiative supports programs to create more high-paying jobs through incentivized collaboration between business, education, and government to diversify and strengthen the economy.

Following Holsworth’s presentation, representatives from Fort Lee and each Tri-City locality provided highlights, opportunities, and upcoming events taking place in their respective localities.

The luncheon concluded with remarks from Fort Lee Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley, as he addressed the importance of a strong relationship between the military base and its surrounding communities, and the positive impact that bond has on the younger generation.

Colonial Heights City Mayor Gregory Kochuba also weighed in on the significance of the Fort Lee/Tri-City relationship.

“We are here to support Fort Lee in any way we can,” Kochuba said. “We’re neighbors, and it’s nice knowing we have that strong, close-knit relationship between ourselves and Fort Lee. We come to each others’ aid during times of emergency or need.”

• Kelsey Reichenberg may be reached at kreichenberg@progress-index.com or 804-722-5109.