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Fort Leonard Wood opens office to help military spouses thrive

Sally Beck, SRC volunteer; Eyonda Williams, Human Resources director; Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general; Col. Anthony Pollio, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander and Vanessa Arzabala, Truman Army Education and Personnel Testing Center guidance counselor, cut the ribbon to launch the grand-opening celebration for Fort Leonard Wood's new SRC.
Ryan Thompson
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Fort Leonard Wood
Sally Beck, a volunteer; Eyonda Williams, Human Resources director; Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general; Col. Anthony Pollio, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, and Vanessa Arzabala, Truman Army Education and Personnel Testing Center guidance counselor, cut the ribbon to launch the grand-opening celebration for Fort Leonard Wood's Spouse Resource Center.

Spouses who follow a member of the military from one assignment to another often find themselves in an unfamiliar place looking for a job, educational opportunity or just basic community information.

Fort Leonard Wood officials hope a new office will help spouses of military members become acclimated to the community and take advantage of opportunities. The installation west of Rolla opened its Spouse Resource Center last week, designed to be a one-stop shop for professional and personal needs of those married to soldiers.

“We will provide resume workshops, employment readiness education opportunities and a connection between the community resources and the installation, bridging the gap,” said Eyonda Williams, director of human resources at Fort Leonard Wood.

Williams said previously, military spouses would have to go to several offices around the base or in the surrounding towns for the same information and opportunities.

Having all of the information in a single location that also serves as a gathering space is a welcome change, said Robin Oster, a military spouse who works at Fort Leonard Wood in child and youth services.

“Every military spouse can use a little help navigating military life,” she said, especially because information found online can sometimes be out of date or otherwise “unreliable.”

“It will be nice to have a space just for us — where we can walk in here, feel comfortable, ask for help and be pointed in the right direction,” Oster said.

The center is currently staffed using existing personnel and volunteers, but Fort Leonard Wood leaders hopes to add new staff dedicated to the location.

While growth is part of the long-term plan, the center does not have specific numbers or benchmarks that will define success, said Walter Harris, the transition service manager at Fort Leonard Wood.

He said the focus will be on helping each spouse individually who comes in for help.

"When we're able to help them find employment or we're able to help them enroll in college education, we consider that a success," Harris said.

The Spouse Resource Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Jonathan is the Rolla correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.