Colonel Daniel S. Morgan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord commander, spoke to more than 40 local community and businesses leaders at the Yelm Chamber of Commerce Wednesday to communicate the bond between the base and the neighboring community.
“I believe in trust, transparency, collaboration and collective responsibility,” Morgan said. “That is what JBLM is and that is what is our relationship is.”
The monthly forum draws high-ranking public officials, civil services, and people from local and national businesses. They use the forum as a chance to network and listen to presentations from guest speakers.
Morgan provided information about the base, what makes up the core values of the installation, what makes JBLM unique from other bases around the country and how all of these factors connect with the Yelm community. He spent a large amount of time talking about what he called his “big rocks.”
These are the foundational services and goals that JBLM provides to both its residents and its neighbors.
“It’s important for us to be transparent and remain collaborative so that we can have a shared understanding so that we can be collectively responsible on how to best move forward,” Morgan said. “I love doing this. I get to hear from the community leaders, take questions and hopefully share with them the answers that they need.”
Because the audience was mostly business oriented people, Morgan also spent a lot of time talking about service members transitioning out of the military and into civilian life.
“We have over 5,000 service members transitioning out yearly,” Morgan said. “Over half of them are going to stay in Washington. That has a direct impact on Yelm and the other communities.”
Morgan also made sure to speak about upcoming training events on JBLM. He also talked about how they’d be communicating with Yelm officials about future events more.
There was also a brief question and answer session on a large majority of subjects, which allowed Morgan to interact with the community members.
For Line Critchfield, the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, having a such a high-ranking JBLM official come to speak with the group highlighted how seriously JBLM regards the relationship between the two.
“We’ve been having a lot of requests to bring someone from JBLM in and we were very fortunate to get such a high-caliber person,” Critchfield said. “JBLM has such an impact on the city of Yelm and the surrounding community. A majority of the residents of Yelm are military so we want to foster that relationship with JBLM and make sure to have that connection.”