Area officials, Fort Hood sign memorandum of agreement

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

Fort Hood Garrison commander Col. Hank Perry signed a memorandum of agreement, as did the mayors of Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Nolanville and Killeen’s mayor pro tem during Saturday morning’s EcoHarvest, held at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. 
The area communities of Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Nolanville, Killeen, Salado, Lampasas, and Gatesville all make up the CenTex Sustainable Community Partnership. Area mayors signed a sustainability proclamation in 2016 at Earth Day on Fort Hood. 
Mayor Frank Seffrood said a few words to welcome the area reps to the event and what the agreement means to the communities. 
“We are pledging that we are going to do this, and in doing so, our communities will get better, the environment will get better,” said Seffrood.
Col. Perry thanked the cities represented for taking the time to recommit to the partnership and how the area communities are dedicated to minimizing impacts on the environment. 
“From the military side, I can tell you that that is a daily event. We want to make sure that Fort Hood is here for the long term. We have to figure out how to minimize the impact on our environment, so we have a very strong recycling program. We have phenomenal people in our Directorate of Public Works environmental division, like Christine Luciano,” said Perry. “I can tell you, we love our employees who are fired up about making sure that we are out in the community to help push our recycling efforts in the schools and supporting anything  event you have and your city managers for initiates for a sustainable environment.”
Perry also talked about an initiative launched for youth in area schools, the Youth Environmental Ambassador program, known as YEA. 
“YEA is a big deal for us, and I think it’s a program we can all get behind. Take a look at it, get fired up about it, and know that it’s something our kids can get fired up about, and it’s in our schools,” Perry said. “We have 45,000 dependents in the surrounding communities, so we are invested in our communities and we know you are invested in us, and this partnership is a wonderful why for us to get behind something to ensure that our environment, and our impact on the environment is as minimal a possible.” 
Luciano, who represents Fort Hood on the CenTex Sustainable Communities Partnership, helped launch the YEA initiative, which gives students in the Copperas Cove, Killeen, Belton, Temple, Gatesville, Salado, Jarrell, Florence, Lampasas Independent School Districts opportunities for participating in sustainability initiatives like the Greater Fort Hood Recycle Bowl, which runs from November 15 through December 15, for which the winning school can receive a $200 grant;  Lights Out Lunch, when campuses turn out the lights in the cafeteria once a month; creating a community garden at schools; and participating in cleanups.

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