Hood inducts 4 into Good Neighbor Program
Heather Graham-Ashley, Sentinel News EditorKilleen restaurateur Jackson Huang has some new hardware for the photo-covered walls of the Taiwan Dragon.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Huang joined Gatesville Chamber of Commerce board member Carla Manning and Killeen attorney Ted Smith and his wife, Caryl Ciccone-Smith, as the four were recognized as the post’s 2012 Fort Hood Good Neighbors during a ceremony Sept. 12 at Club Hood.
III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. recognized the group of four for their investments and contributions to the welfare of Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families.
“These folks have worked hard, and their efforts have made the Great Place even better,” the general said. “You, our Good Neighbors, are those few who choose to contribute directly to the well-being of our Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families.”
Fort Hood’s Good Neighbor Program began in 1996 as a way to recognize select members of the community whose contributions have significantly enhanced the lives of Soldiers and their Families. Inductees receive a stained glass Caltrop, the symbol of III Corps, as a token of the installation’s gratitude and will have their photos permanently displayed on the Fort Hood Good Neighbors Wall located in III Corps Headquarters.
Campbell credited the installation’s success with the strong relationship the post enjoys with the surrounding communities,
Huang, who was born and raised in Taiwan, opened the Taiwan Dragon restaurant in downtown Killeen in 1981.
He has been a part of American Soldiers’ lives for 46 years, first as a waiter at the Taipei-based Military Assistance Advisory Group NCO Open Mess, to his eventual immigration to Texas in 1977 with his wife Li-Ching, to be closer to his sister and brother-in-law who were stationed at Fort Hood. Huang worked as a cook at the Fort Hood Officers’ Club before he opened Taiwan Dragon, Campbell said.
Huang’s restaurant is well-known in Killeen and beyond for its walls that are covered with photos of Army leaders and Fort Hood commanders, past and present.
“Leaders from all over the world come to the Great Place for many different reasons,” Campbell said. “When they come, they eat at Taiwan Dragon, only to have their picture taken so they can get on the wall.”
The general noted a recent visit to the area by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. When the chief was asked if he wanted to meet with any Fort Hood staff, Odeirno said he did not want to meet with anyone that night, but he wanted to go to the Taiwan Dragon for dinner, Campbell said.
Manning and her husband and fellow Fort Hood Good Neighbor Steve have ranching operations in Gatesville. She has been involved with the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce since 2005 and has held the position of Military Affairs Representative since 2008.
Manning has helped organize several events with Fort Hood and worked to strengthen the ties between Gatesville and the post, most recently with the community’s partner unit, 1st Army Division West.
She also works closely with the Army and Department of Defense engineers on the Leon River Restoration Project, the Fort Hood Offsite Conservation Program and the Fort Hood Recovery Credit System.
“Carla, these efforts go beyond benefitting Fort Hood Soldiers and Army Families and beyond helping the Central Texas community,” Campbell said. “Your work and its impact on the use and responsible custodianship of our natural resources benefits the entire region and will continue to do so for years to come.”
Ted and Caryl Ciccone-Smith know who Soldiers are and what their needs are, Campbell said.
Smith’s first duty station was at Fort Hood in 1974 at the Legal Assistance Office. Within six months, he became chief of the Fort Hood Combined Legal Assistance Office. He taught classes at Central Texas College, and served as the attorney adviser to the Disciplinary Control Board. Following his retirement from the Army, Smith stayed in the area and looked out for Soldiers. He helped shutter Killeen-area businesses that were targeting and swindling Soldiers. Smith also drafted more than 900 powers of attorney and wills for Soldiers being deployed to Desert Storm in 1991, the general noted.
His wife, Caryl, also brings skills to the team. She understands the complexities of mobilizing large organizations and the need to care for each and every team member, Campbell said.
“Ted and Caryl have always focused on caring for our Soldiers and our Army Families,” Campbell said.
The general noted several events the Smiths have organized and hosted for Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and wounded warriors.
“Ted, Caryl, these contributions send a clear message to our Soldiers,” the general said. “Central Texas cares about who you are, what you and your Family need.”
After the presentations, the newest Good Neighbors thanked Campbell and Fort Hood for the recognition.
Smith said his time at Fort Hood was one of the best experiences of his life.
“Serving the Soldiers here has been the greatest experience of my life,” he said. “It is a joy to work with these young Soldiers. I’m so grateful to them.”
Manning said it has been her privilege to work with III Corps and Fort Hood. She said the recognition was truly an honor, and she hopes she can live up to the efforts of her fellow Good Neighbors.
“I’m hoping I’ll be able to do as well as they do,” Manning said. “I’m truly honored to join them.”
Huang said he was happy to know Fort Hood Soldiers have appreciated his efforts.
“The military community has always supported the Taiwan Dragon,” he said. “I have always tried to do my best.”
Huang recalled the 2003 fire that devastated his restaurant and credited the support of those at Fort Hood for making it easier to rebuild.
“Fort Hood has been a good neighbor to the Taiwan Dragon family,” Huang said.