In a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday hosted by ADC and Blue Star Families, civic and military leaders discussed the important role of communication and fostering partnerships during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone understands the deep connections between installations and communities,” said Sal Nodjomian, CEO of Matrix Design Group who moderated the town hall. “Both are highly dependent on each other,” he said.

Lisa Swoboda, Senior Director of Military and Federal Affairs at the Maryland Department of Commerce and Col. Erich Spragg, Garrison Commander at Fort Meade in Maryland discussed how their organizations have been working together to maintain critical services and support for essential personnel and families.

“Communication is key to overcoming this pandemic. Whether it’s communicating what the states’ mandates are or CDC guidance,” said Lisa Swoboda. “Information needs to trickle down to all levels,” she said. Swoboda referenced a newly released zip code map of Maryland that shows largest coronavirus concentrations in the state. “It especially showed the disparity by race,” said Swoboda.

Coronavirus response measures “come with a cost” according to Col. Erich Spragg of Fort Meade, MD. He pointed to the disruption on military families, but assures response actions are “absolutely the right response.” Spragg says maintaining a strong relationship with local state and government authorities is crucial during this time. Without collaborative efforts, “Fort Meade would not be protected,” he said.

Other speakers during the virtual town hall discussed similar partnership activities in Texas and Alabama. Additionally chapter directors from Blue Start Families discussing regional issues military families are facing. For a full recording of the town hall, please visit the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative website.