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Thinking Outside the Box for Military Families

By Del Eulberg, Major General (Ret.), USAF

I often comment about taking stock in the many blessings we have, and how special it is to live in a free country. We talk about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families made to provide those freedoms—both past and present. The wars in the Middle East have been underway for more than a decade, and their impact on our military members and their families has been significant. Long separations from family, friends, and homes and communities can be extremely challenging. That is where housing professionals really shine. The dedicated men and women who work hard everyday
to provide our military families with homes and communities worthy of their great sacrifices are making a difference. Whether in government-owned or privatized housing, I have witnessed tremendous examples of exceptional customer service, quality homes, and innovation.

In this issue of Defense Communities, you will read about a number of these initiatives. For example, the Balfour Beatty Communities team at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, has placed special emphasis on taking care of the spouses of Service members who are deployed with its Peace of Mind Program. The heart of this program is the “Honey Do Lists,” which residents love. One resident called it “priceless,” and I would add to that and call it “brilliant.” Another example is the Hunt Communities team of Ohana Military Housing Communities in Hawaii, which has taken an innovative approach in its communities to help residents “think outside the beach” with amenities, such as destination playgrounds and more. These are just a couple of examples of how our housing professionals are devoting their time, talent, and treasure to make a real difference for military families. Simply put: They care.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the work done in our housing communities for our wounded warriors and their families. One of the best examples I’m aware of was highlighted a few years ago in Defense Communities in Hallie Groff’s wonderful article, “Redefining Accessible.” The Patriot and Freedom Homes at Fort Belvoir are a perfect example of what can be done when we focus on our customers’ needs and work as a team. The Wounded Warrior Home Project Team that made this a reality consisted of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, Clark Realty Capital, Clark Builders Group, Michael Graves & Associates, IDEO, The University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Buffalo. This partnership resulted in truly special homes for our wounded warriors and their families. The detailed, world-class planning, floor plans, architecture, etc., make us all proud of what we can achieve together. More importantly, this project proves, once again, what can be accomplished when true patriots from different professions—in and out of uniform—come together to honor our heroes and our nation.

I’m so proud to be associated with the housing professionals who provide homes to our military families. The vast improvements that have been made in family and unaccompanied homes and residential communities over the past 15 years are amazing. And I’m not just talking about the bricks and mortar. The professional customer service, innovative programs and initiatives, and community amenities truly have made a difference. I also am proud of the many contributions PHMA and MHLI have made over the years, by providing training opportunities, supporting our housing professionals, and helping to make today’s standard for residential communities and bricks and mortar an incredible reality! Thanks again for all you do, and God Bless.

Del Eulberg is Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. General Eulberg retired from the Air Force in 2009 as The Civil Engineer, HQ USAF, where he was responsible for installation support for 166 installations worldwide.


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