Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee hosts III Corps for dinner
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A more than 50-year tradition in Copperas Cove has remained intact with the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs committee hosting Fort Hood’s III Corps for the committee’s first military affairs banquet since June 2016 on Thursday night at the committee’s new venue for the banquets, the social hall at Holy Family Catholic Church.
Among Thursday night’s III Corps guests were III Corps’ Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers, along with his wife, Hannah, along with other leaders of III Corps and the 1st Cavalry division, who had the chance to visit with committee members made up of business people and other community leaders.
Robert O’Dell with the Military Affairs Committee was the emcee for the evening and welcomed both military and civilians alike to the dinner. O’Dell gave a brief history of the military affairs dinners, which started in the late 1950s in Ed Rhode’s backyard, and eventually grew so much the committee needed another location.
O’Dell said the committee has been meeting at least once a month for a little over a year to figure out a new way to hold the dinners.
“Tonight is getting us back into our neighbors spending time with us,” he said. “We enjoy having you as our neighbors, we want to help out, do whatever we can to let you know what Cove has to offer.”
Along with the venue, the meal was a bit different than the committee and guests were accustomed to for a military affairs dinner, but no less delicious, according to attendees.
The meal consisted of Texas-size pork steaks prepared by Big Dog Barbecue, with brisket available for those who didn’t eat pork. Also provided was tossed salad, along with baked potatoes donated by Lil Tex Restaurant. Bits ‘N Bites Cake Shop had an assortment of mini cupcakes on each table for dessert.
In the past, the main entrée on the menu had been ribeye steak grilled on site, but the committee opted for catering this particular banquet.
After the buffet meal was served, Maj. Gen. Chalmers spoke for a few moments about what III Corps and Fort Hood has been up to, along with the importance of the community’s support for soldiers.
On any given day, 17,000-19,000 III Corps soldiers are deployed across the world, and more locally, III Corps has been actively helping in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The post itself is already seeing improvements to its infrastructure as well.
“Fort Hood remains an incredibly busy base and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon,” said Chalmers. “This is a critical force projection platform for the U.S. Army operations across the globe.”
He talked about the burden of deployments on soldiers, who don’t bear that alone.
“Every time a soldier deploys, he or she leaves a family behind…We take great comfort, leaving our precious families in the care of our Fort Hood friends in Central Texas communities,” Chalmers said. “We appreciate everything we do, and we would not be able to sustain what we do without you.
“I can personally attest to how important your support is to our soldiers and families.”
At the conclusion of Chalmers’ remarks, J.C. Stubbs presented Chalmers with a gift from the committee, after which CCISD superintendent, Joe Burns, presented Chalmers with a gift as well.
The Military Affairs committee has had a bumpy road as far as finding a venue for its banquets, after holding the banquets at the Copperas Cove Civic Center became cost-prohibitive after fee and rental policy changes were approved last June by the Copperas Cove City Council.
The Military Affairs committee has typically held eight banquets per year, hosting the leadership from each division at Fort Hood.