Sheltons Praise Military Child Education Coalition
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
PALM HARBOR, Fla., Jul. 16, 2001 Next to their parents, children of military families have no better advocates than the Military Child Education Coalition, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton told the group July 13 at their annual conference here.
“We owe it to our children to do the right thing. They’re already facing enough adversity just being the children of military members,” Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton said at the Military Child Education Coalition annual conference in Palm Harbor, Fla. Photo by Rudi Williams.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"You're the key for their success," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "You can make a big difference." Shelton said the coalition plays a vitally important role in highlighting the issues young people have to deal with, particularly those involving America's mobile society. "Outstanding educators, spouses, armed forces members and professional individuals deal with an area that's critically important, not only to our armed forces, but to the future of our nation."
MCEC began in 1997 as a partnership of Fort Hood, Texas, and the school district of neighboring Killeen to provide a forum and to showcase the needs of the military child. The coalition goal was to develop an understanding of the issues facing Hood students and to find solutions.
Though the Army established it, Shelton said, the organization could benefit all services and civilian communities. "MCEC is about the education of our children," the chairman said. "That's important whether you're a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman or merchant mariner. It's important to corporate America as well, because corporate America has become more mobile."
"We have different types of stresses -- maybe a parent who is deployed, frequent moves, unexpected moves and lack of predictability in their lives," Shelton said. "A lot of things make military lifestyle very stressful. MCEC is highlighting those issues and working to ease the burdens our military families face. That's applicable to all of our armed forces."
The chairman said he and his wife Carolyn said they are proud to be honorary MCEC advisers and look forward to be even more involved in the future.
"In my 37 years as an Army wife, I don't know of another program that has the potential for improving the lives of our school-aged children as MCEC does," Carolyn Shelton said. "For every child whose transition from one school to another was made just a little bit easier I say,' God bless you.'"