Camp Humphreys formalizes ‘Good Neighbor’ program
Army seeks to build lasting ties with Pyeongtaek area
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The Army at Camp Humphreys is moving to forge longer-lasting ties to orphanages, schools and others in its region of the peninsula.
The Area III Support Activity is seeking to make enduring ties by signing memorandums of agreement that formalize “Good Neighbor” interactions in the Pyeongtaek area.
The agreements pair a single unit or organization with a community partner.
Area III commander Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. has turned to the more formal approach to curb a problem that has sometimes marked earlier good-neighbor efforts.
“Before, some units had a relationship say, with a school,” said Area III chief spokeswoman Susan Barkley. “And while a commander was assigned here, they may have numerous contacts or regular contacts with the school.”
But when the commander transferred, she said, sometimes the relationship was lost, at least for a time.
The written agreements will commit the two parties to keeping up their relationship through a regular schedule of activities, she said.
Activities can range from English classes with a school or trips to an orphanage for a party for the children or offers to do repairs, for example. A unit might invite its partner to tour Camp Humphreys or for a night of on-post bowling and pizza.
Taliento hit on the idea early this year, said Barkley. Since then, Area III legal and other officials refined it.
Before this year, Area III has had only one such written agreement, with Nam Seoul University in Cheonan, signed in 1999, Barkley said. Since February, six units signed agreements variously with a local chamber of commerce, the Pyeongtaek City government, two elementary schools, a high school and a university.
And the command is accelerating the program and widening its network of agreements, Barkley said.
Four more agreements are to be signed during this month and next, and another 16 are in the works, Barkley said.
Area III now includes mention of the program in its monthly briefing for newly arrived commanders and other senior leaders. The command helps match up military units with community partners, or formalize existing relationships, Barkley said.
“We will assist them in drawing up the memorandum of agreement and assist them with holding the signing ceremony,” she said. “It just puts it on a more stable foundation. And it commits both sides.”