Community Conversation

9.21.21 Membership Matters!

9.21.21 Membership Matters!

Wow. The response from everyone so far has been great. We’ve gotten so many comments through email, and we’re excited to know how engaged our community truly is in the mission of Fort Polk Progress. 

If you missed our previous communications, just scroll to the bottom to get caught up.

Fort Polk Progress has been working diligently to make our community’s voice heard in Washington. Notably, and most recently, we’ve had much influence in securing funding for a new Joint Operations Center at the Joint Readiness Training Center. We’ve also provided grants to both the Vernon and Beauregard school systems this past summer to help them with their websites and other improvements. We also have several other projects in the works, including a new Economic Impact Study, which will reveal the most recent economic impact of Fort Polk on our community, our region and our state. The results of this study, among other things, help us to secure funding for quality of life improvements. 

In the next few days, we plan to increase our abilities to get things done by formally opening Fort Polk Progress up for membership at various levels. The Board of Directors has determined that in order to continue moving forward and to be ready to face the uncertainties of the future, Fort Polk Progress must have a solid base of membership, made up of community leaders like you who are not only informed and educated about our mission, but stand ready to support it, just as you did in 2013 and 2015 when threats to force structure at Fort Polk were imminent.

We must create a united force to accomplish all that our community envisions: creating and maintaining public/private partnerships with Fort Polk; improving infrastructure development and quality of life; investing into our education systems; and providing positive information about our area to newcomers and Army families. 

Are you confident that Fort Polk is exempt from troop reduction? I am not. I can’t predict the political or fiscal winds blowing in Washington, D.C. My confidence lies instead in my community’s ability to rally and unite to defend Fort Polk in the event of a threat to force structure. I am also confident that we may need to rally sooner rather than later, and I’d rather get ready now, wouldn’t you? 

Let’s not leave our community’s future to chance. Instead, let’s be proactive and take the next step to form a united, committed membership. There is no doubt that there is strength in numbers and that we are more prepared if we are united by the same vision of keeping Fort Polk strong.  

Look at what we did as a community with only a few weeks planning and simply reacting to threats in 2013 and again in 2015. Imagine what we could do if we proactively locked arms and stepped into the future with the same vision. 

In the next email, I’ll have the membership levels laid out very clearly. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and make a decision. 

In a nutshell, we’ll be offering a limited number of inaugural memberships at a discount and for a limited time in combination with registration for the Community Briefing in November. Remember, at the Briefing, we’ll release and discuss the Economic Impact Study and you’ll hear from other leaders about fiscal matters as they pertain to Fort Polk.  

Please let us know what you’re thinking by commenting below or sending me an email. 

Until next time, 

Tammy Sharp

For Fort Polk Progress

P.S. In the meantime, you might find these video links useful. The Roosevelt Group recently conducted a webinar: FY 22 Defense Budget Implications. After providing budget analysis, the panelists answered a number of questions, including these you might find interesting: 

How can industry help the Army reach their additive manufacturing goals? 

What are the top programs or initiatives we should be keeping an eye on this budget cycle?

Also, Here is a peek at the 9.17.21 Executive Insight Brief

9.15.21  A Recap and an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss

Thanks for all the feedback! It’s very exciting to see how engaged our community still is when it comes to Fort Polk. Did you miss the previous communications? Well keep reading…it’s all right here.

We’re working on a number of fronts to help fulfill our mission and position Fort Polk Progress and our community to be ready to address threats to troop structure and to capitalize on opportunities for the good of our whole community. But we can’t do it alone. We have to be a united entity. 

We’ve already proven our ability to unite as a community to get things done. Now, it’s time to take it a step further, and bring all of our resources to bear to accomplish the mission of keeping Fort Polk strong. 

In just a few days we are going to launch an opportunity for you to become a member of Fort Polk Progress, which will give you the ability to be fully engaged: you’ll get information from us as soon as it becomes available concerning Fort Polk, the federal budget and so much more; you’ll be in on the decision-making process as we determine how best to use our resources; you’ll know immediately what threats are present and how we plan to address them. 

It’s been several years since Fort Polk Progress has accepted financial support from the community at large. In fact, it was during threats to force structure that the community stepped up and supported our mission not just financially, but in person with a phenomenal outpouring. Funded mostly by Louisiana Economic Development since then, we’ve not been able to accomplish as much as we think we might if we have the full force of our community behind us.  

We are so grateful for a community that is generous with their input and ideas. Many have indicated that our priorities should include creating and maintaining public/private partnerships with Fort Polk. One such agreement continues to thrive. Other agreements are in the process of being worked out; with community support, the possibilities are compounded. 

In addition, you mentioned that improving infrastructure development should be a focus. Recently, the State approved more than $2 million for just such a project on Entrance Road

We’ve continued to push out positive stories concerning our education system and the excellent recreational activities available in our area on our Newcomer’s Blog. We hope that you take the time to share these stories with others to increase our reach. And if you have specific stories you’d like to see us share, contact me with details! We know that you are investing your time and energy into making our community better. We want to share what you’re doing. 

Other ideas included encouraging Fort Polk families to participate in our community while also improving communications amongst stakeholders. We think our website and social media as a whole would be an excellent place to make progress in this area. Keep us in the loop by emailing your events and updates to me. We’ll be happy to share on our blog and on social media. 

In fact, the information stream goes both ways. We have so much information to share with you, that we’ve decided to conduct a Community Briefing on November 9 at the Vernon Parish Fairgrounds. While the event will be free and open to the public, there will be limited seating. In the coming days, we’ll share with you opportunities to be more involved via membership and how to make sure you have a seat at the Community Briefing. 

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to let me know your needs. Shoot me an email or comment at the bottom of our Community Conversation page. 

Until next time, 

Tammy Sharp

For Fort Polk Progress  

P.S. Let me ask, are you informed about the Department of Defense’s CyberSecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)?  

If you currently provide services to the DoD or plan on doing work with them in the future, no matter what kind, the CMMC requirement affects you. Read more about it here

Send me your feedback on the questions you have concerning CMMC, and I would be happy to arrange to have some information gathered and provided to you through The Roosevelt Group, which not only advocates on our behalf in Washington, D.C. but also has its finger on the pulse of the Department of Defense. 

Aside from CMMC guidelines, the Roosevelt Group, along with Louisiana Economic Development, has also helped us pull together another Economic Impact Study on Fort Polk, which should provide us with some very useful insight for the future. We anticipate presenting that study, along with much more, at the Community Briefing in November.  

9.13.21 Announcing our new website and an opportunity for you to expand your reach!

 Thanks so much for your responses to the survey from the previous email. Your answers will help us to serve you better! 

And I’m very excited to announce that you can now come here, to our new website to provide your feedback and comments.  We’re looking forward to the conversation! 

We’re excited about our plans to make the website a hub of interesting, free and relevant content keeping you informed and connecting the surrounding communities to soldiers and their families. It’s still in the building stage, but we hope you like what we ‘ve done so far!

Do you remember when federal budget cuts loomed, threatening troop reductions at bases all across the nation in 2013 and 2015? Then, Mike Reese led the entire state in a huge outpouring of support for Fort Polk. What a victory we achieved, not just once, but twice!

Since then, Mike has moved on to the Louisiana Senate, passing the reins of chairing Fort Polk Progress to Leesville Mayor Rick Allen. In March, the Board of Directors decided to ramp up communications in order to be better prepared for the future. 

The Newcomer’s Blog on our website is one tool we’ll use to reach out to soldiers and their families about all the wonderful things our area has to offer. We’re always looking for ideas and input. Let us know what you think by joining the conversation at the end of each post or sending me a direct email! 

We’ve also implemented a place for a Community Conversation, which is right here on this page. Here, you’ll find our recent letters and an opportunity to add your voice to the dialogue as we move toward announcing some bigger changes. 

The folks at The Roosevelt Group provide us with a weekly Executive Insight Brief, a summary and links to noteworthy news items on a number of relevant topics, including budget and appropriations, military installations and communities and so much more. You can find a sampling of the latest brief here. 

We’ll also be using social media to help achieve our mission as well. The Fort Polk Progress Facebook page has almost 1,700 followers, while our Twitter account has over 300 followers. Please check us out on social media!

As a gift to you, we’d like to invite you to leverage our social media followers to your advantage by sending us your social media posts. As long as they abide by certain standards, we’ll share the post with our followers. 

On another note, some of you indicated in the survey that you want Fort Polk Progress to continue to develop public/private partnerships. We agree that these are vital to our community, and the Board continues to look for these opportunities with Fort Polk. We’ll have more on this later. 

The Education Initiative, as well as publicizing the successes and supporting the efforts of the school systems that serve our military-connected students and families, also remains a priority. 

One last thing. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be sending out a similar letter in the next few days with information concerning guidelines about doing business with the Department of Defense, as well as more information concerning an upcoming opportunity you won’t want to miss. 

Also, be on the lookout for details concerning a Community Briefing set for November 9. 

9.8.21 We have a quick update and a favor

Fort Polk Progress is gearing up to become more active in its mission!
We have some things in the works we know will provide you vital information about Fort Polk and how you manage your business, as well as opportunities you won’t want to miss.   
However, we need your help. We want to make sure we are serving our community in the best possible way. 
We have a quick, one-question survey that will help us as we prepare for the future. Here’s the question: 
What two things do you think Fort Polk Progress absolutely must do or provide for our community?

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