News: Missouri National Guard meets up with Mizzou partners
Story by Sarah Lupescu
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard, the University of Missouri, and other community leaders met for a day of tours - both on the ground and in the air.
Guardsmen gave coaches, members of MU staff, and other leaders an orientation flight around Mizzou’s campus and the Columbia area on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. After the aerial tour, Gary Link, the special assistant to the athletic director, gave Missouri Guardsmen a tour of Mizzou’s sports facilities.
The Missouri National Guard has a continuing relationship with the Mizzou Athletics Department and Mizzou Sports Properties. The partnership results in an increased awareness of the Missouri National Guard and it increases the quality and quantity of new recruits.
“It’s a win-win relationship,” said Brig. Gen. David Newman, Chief of the Missouri National Guard Joint Staff. “Two great organizations, the University of Missouri and the Missouri National Guard, work together to strengthen the state of Missouri.”
Throughout the partnership, the Missouri National Guard has received elements such as venue signage, hospitalities and on-field ceremonies. In November, 24 new Missouri Guardsmen participated in a swearing in ceremony on Faurot Field at the University of Missouri's football game against Syracuse. Earlier this month, new recruits participated in a similar ceremony in Mizzou Arena during a basketball game.
“I have an appreciation for the National Guard and what they do for the state of Missouri,” said Gary Pinkel, Mizzou’s football head coach. “The partnership draws awareness to the importance of the Guard to Missouri. I get a chance to promote that and it’s something I believe in.”
The partnership and promotion is something the Guard has its sights set on for the future.
“There are a lot of things we have done and are doing, but we still have a long road ahead of us,” Newman said. “We must continue this great relationship between the University of Missouri and the Missouri National Guard.”
Other community leaders from across the state were involved in the day’s activities. Each of their businesses offers an opportunity for Missouri National Guard exposure in Missouri’s communities.
“Doug Bax of Learfield Sports has been a critical contact in an effort to build an affordable national-level marketing campaign for the Missouri National Guard,” said Capt. Brian Hatcher, the marketing officer in charge with the Missouri National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “Learfield Sports owns 52 Division I colleges and universities across the nation.”
Mike Kelly, the vice president of HM Risk in St. Louis and voice of Missouri Tiger football and basketball, has become a significant Missouri Guard partner.
“Outside of the contract with Mizzou, Mike has made numerous mentions on live radio about the support the Missouri National Guard provides its citizens and what a great organization it is,” Hatcher said. “Mike is also a key player in the Segs for Vets program and has been a key leader in raising money for the program.”
Mike Brown, the president and CEO of Farmland Foods participated in the orientations. Farmland Foods currently employs 800 workers in Missouri with their corporate headquarters in Kansas City. Farmland facilities stretch across Missouri with the majority of its operations in rural Missouri.
“We are looking for ways to develop a solid relationship with Farmland to better help recruiting and advertising in rural Missouri along with possible jobs for Missouri National Guard members,” Hatcher said.
John Lamond, a Mediacom executive, was also included in the community leaders. Mediacom serves over 1,500 communities throughout the country. They offer services including digital cable TV, high-speed Internet and phone service.
“Mediacom and the Missouri National Guard are working together to build a Missouri National Guard recruiting video that is fed live online and during St. Louis Cardinals games,” Hatcher said. “Mediacom has already provided a Missouri National Guard advertisement video free of charge and free live television ads.”
Three leaders from the Missouri Broadcasters Association were present. Mark Gordon, the president and CEO of the MBA; Don Hicks, president emeritus of the MBA; and Frank Forgey, the MBA director have proven to be important Missouri National Guard partners. The MBA provides the Missouri National Guard with yearly radio time across the state. A contract between the Missouri National Guard and the MBA is completed annually.
“Outside of what the MBA contract provides, these three leaders strive to provide the Missouri National Guard with additional air time and advertisement,” Hatcher said.
Three key figures within the University of Missouri healthcare system were also included in the event.
“Currently, we are looking to further build relationships in an effort to recruit medical doctors to the Missouri National Guard,” Hatcher said.
The day provided for an opportunity to build on the current relationships the Missouri National Guard has with its partners and to help build a solid foundation with new partnerships.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/