By Amy Perry, Fort Lee Public Affairs
FORT LEE, Va. – A Fort Lee transportation company formalized their relationship with a local middle school during an adoption ceremony Tuesday.
The 2nd Staff and Faculty Company, 71st Transportation Battalion, adopted J.E.J. Moore Middle School in Prince George County. Capt. Jacques Kassa, 2nd Staff and Faculty Co. commander, and Stephanie Bishop, principal of the school, signed a memorandum of agreement that represented the commitment between the two organizations.
Also in attendance were David Koleda, deputy to the Chief of Transportation; 1st Sgt. Rubin Chery, 2nd Staff and Faculty Co. first sergeant; Sgt. 1st Class Randall Reed, company operations non-commissioned officer; Chaundra Taswell, Fort Lee School Liaison Officer; and several leaders from the Prince George County School District.
Bishop said she is very excited to expand the military support program at her school.
“We’ve always appreciated our partnership with Fort Lee, and this just strengthens that effort,” she said. “We are so excited to have the Soldiers involved and interacting with our students.”
One of the ways the company will be involved is a monthly program called Wednesday Greeters, where unit Soldiers will be at the school to welcome students and interact with them.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Bishop. “It’s so important to get their day started with positive interaction with adults.”
Connecting military units and the community is important to show support for each other, said Kassa.
“It’s always good to put together the community we serve and the military,” said Kassa. “For us, it’s giving back to our community and letting them know we’re here for them. It’s also showing them we are involved in the schools.
“Having a partnership with a school is a big deal for us,” he continued. “In the military, we emphasize military and civilian education. To be able to come here and serve a school is one way to show our community that we recognize their support and give back to them.”
Koleda said he attended to show the support of the U.S. Army Transportation School Team. Additionally, the school is located in Prince George County, which is the Transportation School’s area of responsibility under the installation’s Community Connect program, which partners Fort Lee commands and military schools with the surrounding communities. The program encourages Fort Lee and community partners to develop relationships that enhance understanding of the military, the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee.
“The Community Connect program is very important to us,” said Koleda. “Prince George County belongs to us in a habitual relationship to the Transportation School, and we thought the signing ceremony would be a great opportunity to advance our program and support the school.”
Taswell also touted the Adopt-A-School program and the benefit it provides.
“It facilitates units partnering with schools,” she said. “The company contacted me and told me they were interested in participating in the program. So here we are doing this great thing for the school.”
Fort Lee recently became involved with the Adopt-a- School program and J.E.J. Moore is the 5th that has been adopted by a unit, said Taswell.
“I’ve talked to several school administrators and several have expressed interest in a unit adopting them,” she said. “When a company contacts me, I find a good match for both. If they are looking for a partner, I’ll connect them.”