Va. Guard hosts Community Leadership Conference in Leesburg

Capt. Roderick B. Little, commander of the Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, talks with community leaders April 12 in Leesburg. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

LEESBURG, Va. — Community leaders from Leesburg and Loudon County learned more about the capabilities of the Virginia National Guard during the first-ever Community Leadership Conference held April 12 in Leesburg. The Virginia Guard’s Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team hosted the event that was designed to bring together community leaders to share ideas and build interagency relationships. During the conference, community leaders learned details of the plans for a community service day scheduled for June 2 where Soldiers from Company C will volunteer their time in community service projects in the area.

Karen Conlin, Virginia’s civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, co-hosted the event and provided opening comments.She explained that one of her roles is to introduce businesses and local government to the National Guard, Reserve and active Army so they can foster relationships and provide support in case something happens in the area.

Members from the Virginia National Guard’s 34th Civil Support Team, Counter Drug Task Force, Family Programs Office and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management conducted brief presentations and set up information displays for attendees and also answered questions.

Capt. Roderick B. Little, commander of Company C, pointed out that more than a third of the Soldiers in the company are residents of Loudon County, and half of them have children in county schools. He said that in addition to their service in the Virginia National Guard, they also serve their communities as volunteers or in service professions like law enforcement, fire fighting and teaching.

“These young men have character, a skill set and a mind set to contribute even more,” he said.

As a way to say thanks for everything the community has done for the company, Little said his Soldiers will conduct a community service day June 2. They will volunteer their time in community service projects throughout the area, then host an open house at the unit armory in Leesburg. The exact projects will be determined by the unit leadership from suggestions made by members of the community.

“This is such a wonderful example of what the Guard does on a daily basis,” said Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd. “I am really proud of the Guard for being that committed to their community. Our hearts really go out to our Soldiers and their families for everything they do to keep us free.”