Fort Stewart soldiers and family members learned about family adventures, hotel accommodations, dining, entertainment, education and recreation opportunities from Savannah and Hilton Head to Orlando at Tuesday’s Fall Community Showcase and Travel Show.
The biannual event at Club Stewart brings together vendors from throughout Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, said Pat Young, community-relations officer for the Fort Stewart Public Affairs Office. He said representatives from hotels, historic sites, schools, churches and municipalities tell soldiers and spouses what they have to offer, and many provide special military discount rates.
Although this year’s estimated 400 attendees represented fewer participants than normal, Young said it was a good turnout and a great opportunity for soldiers and family members who are new to the area. This year’s “best in the show” prize went to the team of the Coastal Heritage Society and Old Fort Jackson, whose representatives were clad in period military uniforms from the American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War.
“At one point, the Coastal Heritage people were able to outfit community members with period military garb and weapons, then they ‘attacked’ the fort. It was fun to watch,” Young said of the re-enactment. “Fort Stewart’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation won the Community Cup this year.”
In addition to Old Fort Jackson, which is near downtown Savannah, other state and national historic sites represented were Fort Morris in Midway, Fort McAllister in Richmond Hill and Fort Pulaski on Tybee Island.
Clad in his Confederate uniform, Fort McAllister park ranger and period interpreter Talley Kirkland chatted with Fort Pulaski park ranger and period interpreter Mike Weinstein, who wore a Union uniform.
The two men only grinned when asked for a photo of them shaking hands.
“I ain’t shaking hands with him,” Kirkland said with a laugh. He did agree, however, to pose for a picture with his federal counterpart.
Army spouses Jennifer Lefkowski and Stefanie Thompson, along with Lefkowski’s 2-year-old daughter, Avery, said they enjoyed going from table to table to learn about fun things for their families to do in the surrounding communities.
Linda Phillips, who said she was representing the city of Richmond Hill, and Bonnie Proctor, who was with the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Center, offered snacks, pencils, cups and literature about their community, including its relationship with Henry Ford.
Fort Stewart’s Directorate of Public Works manned two tables in one corner of Club Stewart’s main ball room. Environmental specialist Brian Hubbard demonstrated how an automated stormwater sampler collects stormwater that later is tested for pollution.
“We’re looking for pollutants in the stormwater,” Hubbard said. “If we find any, we back track to see where it came from. We want to find the source so we can stop the pollution,”
Next door to Hubbard, Nolan Fields, with he Directorate of Public Works’ recycle-compliance assessment, displayed a variety of aluminum cans and plastic bottles that are recycled by the installation.
“I go around to all the agencies on post and make sure everybody is in compliance with the (recycle policy),” Fields said. “We have our own recycling center here on post. We sell the recycled material on the economy, and all the money comes back to the installation.”
Representatives from the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority and the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce talked about upcoming events in the community, including Unityfest taking place this Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Bryant Commons.
Peter Hoffman and Brenda Douglas with the Armstrong Atlantic State University’s Liberty Center talked to soldiers and spouses about degree opportunities at the center as well as plans for growth when the new center opens in January 2015. Hoffman said there still is time for students to sign up for the next session, which begins Oct. 9.