By Erick Rodriguez
Fort Cavazos Public Affairs
FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos officials recognized three new Good Neighbors of the local community who have greatly impacted the quality of life of Soldiers and their families at the Great Place during the Good Neighbor dinner Nov. 9 at the Lone Star Conference Center.
Since 1996, Fort Cavazos has awarded 72 people the Good Neighbor Award, allowing the Fort Cavazos community to show appreciation for the Good Neighbors in the surrounding areas who have dedicated many hours and personal efforts to enhance the lives of Soldiers and their families.
“You would have to look for a long time to find folks more committed to their community and Fort Cavazos than these Good Neighbors we have with us today,” Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, commanding general of III Armored Corps, said that evening.
The three newest Good Neighbors are Bill Kliewer, Mary Kliewer and John Footman.
Bill served honorably as an officer in the 1st Cavalry Division, where he met Mary, and continued to serve Soldiers and his community for many years after his service to the nation. He has served as president or chairman of nearly every organization of note in the Central Texas area, including as president of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, Central Texas Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, the Killeen Industrial Foundation and the Ellison Quarterback Club. He’s also served as the director of the Bell County Expo Center, Central Texas Youth Services Bureau and the Texas Automobile Dealers Association.
Mary has been an advocate for education and growth for Soldiers and the community throughout her life. She has served as vice president of the Central Texas College Board of Trustees and was a founding board member and Vice Chairman of the Texas A&M Central Texas Foundation. She has also previously served as the founding chairman of the Killeen Independent School District Adopt-A-School Program. Mary is currently serving as a member of the Texas A&M University Central Texas President’s Advisory Council. She also serves as chairman of the Central Texas Workforce Board and the Greater Killen Chamber of Commerce Board. Together with her husband, Bill, she started the Kliewer Family Leadership Award. The Kliewer Family Leadership Award, which is given annually to a graduate of KISD, is often awarded to a Fort Cavazos dependent.
Bill and Mary were also recipients, during separate years, of the Central Texas’s most coveted community service award, the Roy J. Smith Award.
Footman not only served 20 years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and cavalry scout, once retired, he would go on to continue to serve his community and continue to do something that Army noncommissioned officers do best, take care of Soldiers. For the 36 years since his retirement, Footman has served as the Texas State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, established three new chapters for the MOPH within the state of Texas, served three terms as the commander of the Central Texas Chapter 1876 MOPH, and currently serves as the chief of staff of that organization’s regional command, making him a key player in assisting veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan fronts in receiving their Purple Heart medals.
Footman also currently serves on the Harker Heights Public Safety commission and the Central Texas Wreath-Laying Committee. He is the senior vice chairman of the State MOPH and continues to serve Soldiers and veterans as chaplain to the Area Veterans Advisory Committee and the membership chair for the Rotary Club of Harker Heights.
“I am humbled to be selected as a Good Neighbor and be among so many great people,” John said. “I appreciate everyone, and I am so grateful for the work we get to do for our Soldiers. I am proud to be a Fort Cavazos Good Neighbor, thank you so much.”
Bernabe wrapped up the 2023 Fort Cavazos Good Neighbor induction dinner by acknowledging the recipients, sharing, “Thank you for what you do to make Fort Cavazos the Great Place.”