June Potter

June Potter, Warrens Cranberry Festival organizer and Friends and Spouses of Fort McCoy club member, talks to club members during lunch Sept. 20 at McCoy’s Community Center.

Once a month, the Friends and Spouses of Fort McCoy assemble at McCoy’s Community Center to socialize, participate in fun activities such as raffles or art projects, share information on area events and services and support local charities.

Guest speakers from both on- and off-post organizations talk to the members at each meeting on a variety of subjects.The September meeting’s guest speaker was club member and Warrens Cranberry Festival board member June Potter, who talked to the group about the 2017 festivities.

Club president Carrie Olson and secretary Rose Holland said club membership has dwindled as former members have changed duty stations or otherwise left the area, but the Friends and Spouses are looking to recruit new members.

With the influx of new families in the newly expanded South Post housing area, club leaders said they’re working on getting more post organizations to participate in the meetings and provide information about services available on post. Olson, who is also the family advocacy program manager for Army Community Service, lets club members know what events are coming up for her organization.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re bringing in MWR ... just to give us a quick rundown of some of the amazing programs we have,” Holland.

The club also supports a different local nonprofit organization each month, collecting supplies and/or cash. Some examples of organizations the club has supported include USO Fort McCoy and food pantries in Sparta and Tomah.

“Last year, we did more than $700 in donations to local agencies,” Olson said. “That’s incredible from our small little group.”

“It’s just people taking time to grab something while shopping,” Holland said.

“And it’s so appreciated,” Olson said. “We try to share the thank-you notes when we get them.”

DFMWR director Patric McGuane stopped by the September meeting to talk about what’s available through DFMWR and to encourage club members to reach out to his office with any ideas or requests they have.

“I’d like to come in and conduct a focus group and (ask) what are you looking for (from DFMWR)?” McGuane said.

He said he would appreciate the feedback on what programs are well-liked or still wanted, especially in the newly expanded South Post housing area.

While the club is primarily intended for military spouses and government civilians, anyone with an interest in or connection to Fort McCoy is welcome to attend. And while child-care services are not provided, parents are welcome to bring along young children. Club leaders are also requesting input on what activities members would like to see and what organizations they support.

The Friends and Spouses club meets at 11 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month. Members are emailed invitations monthly. Nonmembers interested in attending can email fsofmccoy@gmail.com for more information about the group and meetings.

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Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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