News Release for January 8, 2019
The Fort Campbell Strong Defense Alliance kicked off the new year with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the newly opened office in Oak Grove, Kentucky. Campbell Strong was established last year as a collaborative effort that began in 2015 to define a path for economic diversification and growth in the six-county region surrounding Fort Campbell including Christian, Todd, and Trigg counties in Kentucky along with Montgomery, Stewart, and Robertson counties in Tennessee. The Fort Campbell Regional Defense Alliance will provide a dedicated, unified voice on matters involving Fort Campbell and the surrounding region with a primary goal to support the overall health of the region’s military and defense sector through economic and workforce development activities.
The Alliance’s strategic goals are to unify the region and to speak with one voice in order to advocate to grow the Fort Campbell mission and troop strength by 3,000; to partner with various agencies and organizations in both Kentucky and Tennessee to aggressively look seek opportunities to grow our economy, increase the workforce while leveraging the talented veteran workforce, increasing the permanent residency of our veterans from 30% to 50%, and the elimination of a state income tax in Kentucky.
Campbell Strong partnered with the Northern Middle Tennessee Workforce Board and the West Kentucky Workforce Board to obtain a $7.76 million dollar grant from the Department of Labor to provide $5,000 in services to each transitioning veteran for licensing, credentials, certifications, training, and equipment along with our local businesses. Also, the spouse of a veteran is authorized these same services immediately upon arrival to Fort Campbell.
Rory Malloy, a retired Command Sergeant Major and the Executive Director for the Campbell Strong Defense Alliance stated that “34 years ago I flew to Fort Benning, Georgia for Infantry training. 32 years and 10 months later I took off the uniform. My wife and I served in a variety of places, moved 21 times and spent 45 months in combat. At the end of the day we came back home, here, in this community where our two adult children live and five granddaughters and that’s not by accident. This great community embraces us in 1994 during our first assignment with the 101st. There was never a doubt this community would take care of my family as we invaded Iraq and multiple tours to follow and that’s why we call this home and are honored to be part of this community and the Campbell Strong team.”
The six county mayors and judge executives as well as the City of Clarksville and Hopkinsville mayors made statements during the ceremony.
Jeff Truitt, Montgomery County Government Chief of Staff and Board Co-Chair states, “The Fort Campbell Strong Defense Alliance is something our community needs to be really excited about. This groundbreaking six county effort to create the area’s first consolidated and organized alliance to advocate and protect our asset in Fort Campbell will one day be looked upon as a pivotal moment in our region. I hope this is just the beginning of many more partnerships you see crossing state lines and aligning our communities.”
“As Todd County Judge-Executive, I am so pleased to be a part of the Campbell Strong Alliance. There are so many reasons to be excited about the alliance of counties, states and parties but the one I believe will benefit Todd County the most is the growth of skilled workers in our area. A strong skilled workforce, I believe will benefit us all. On behalf of Todd County, thank you for allowing us to be a member of Campbell Strong”, stated Todd Mansfield.
With only seven days as the Mayor for the City of Clarksville, Mayor Joe Pitts stated he is “focused on unity, unifying our efforts, work together, especially with his good friends in Montgomery County. There is no more important contingency group than our veterans and the soldiers and their families at Fort Campbell. There is no more important organization right now which brings the two states and our counties together than Campbell Strong Defense Alliance. You can count on the City of Clarksville to be a strong partner – We are in it to win it”.
Mayor Carter Hendricks, the Mayor of Hopkinsville, KY closed by stating “this organization has been involved in acquiring two grants which total over $10 million from the OEA and DOL”. Mayor Hendricks also recognized Tom Johnson, a retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 with 30 years of service in the Army for his support for the Campbell Strong initiative by placing the line item in the city budget to ensure funding of the non-profit alliance.
Mayor Hendricks final comments compared a legendary quote from the first man on the moon, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” by stating, “this ribbon cutting represents one small step for Campbell Strong, but it’s really one giant leap for this region as we historically bring six counties together as we do everything we can to help Fort Campbell and this region grow stronger as we get creative and innovative in our economic growth.
For more information concerning Fort Campbell Strong, please contact Rory Malloy at info@FortCampbellStrong.org