(RICHLAND PIO) — As Fort Jackson gears up to celebrate its 100 year anniversary, Richland County Council Chair Joyce Dickerson is taking on a new role dedicated to honoring the duty, service and military tradition that continue at the Army installation today.
Dickerson, the District 2 representative and recently elected County Council Chair, was unanimously approved to serve as an honorary board member for the Gateway to the Army Association (GTTA) last month. The GTTA is a South Carolina nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the military and encouraging patriotism through visual installations and commemorative events.
“I’m honored to be a part of this patriotic group of individuals who aim to strengthen the ties between Fort Jackson and our surrounding communities,” Dickerson said. “We are all very lucky to have Fort Jackson in the neighborhood.”
Fort Jackson has been training soldiers since 1917, during World War I. The 52,000-acre military installation in the heart of Richland County is the Army’s main Basic Combat Training center where each year more than 50,000 soldiers receive initial entry training and an additional 10,000 receive advanced individual training.
As the Army installation celebrates its centennial in 2017, the GTTA hopes to garner enough community support to gift the Army base a manicured greenspace named Centennial Park. The park is designed to include walking trails; an amphitheater for ceremonies, marriages and family activities; informational markers; and multiple memorials, such as the “Pathway of Patriots” that will spotlight the vital role Fort Jackson plays in national defense.
Dickerson, whose husband is a veteran, joins the honorary board in its mission to encourage patriotism, promote the history and importance of Fort Jackson and salute the military men and women who have trained at the Army installation for 100 years.
“We consider our honorary board members key and influential leaders throughout the Midlands who have a heart for Fort Jackson and the Army in general,” said GTTA Chair Martin Wells. “These advisors come from various backgrounds and positions throughout the Midlands who stand ready to assist our efforts to plan, fund, build and present Centennial Park to Fort Jackson.”
About 3,500 active-duty soldiers are presently assigned to Fort Jackson and almost 3,500 civilians work at the installation.
For information about Centennial Park and the GTTA, visit www.gatewaytothearmy.org. For information about Fort Jackson’s centennial celebrations , visit www.fortjackson100.com.