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(Enlarge) Col. Edward C. Rothstein, Garrison Commander

For the past couple of weeks I have been promoting the need to make safety a priority on post.

My goal is to ensure there is a high level of awareness that reminds everyone to consider ways to find balance in our lives, take steps to keep our families strong and be mindful that staying safe does not happen by accident.

A good example of Team Meade working together on safety awareness occurred last Friday when Fort Meade and our surrounding areas came under severe weather and tornado warnings.

The Directorate of Emergency Services and the Public Affairs Office worked together, airing warning messages on the installation's public address system and posting information on the installation's Facebook page and Twitter account starting early Friday afternoon and continuing through the evening until the storms had cleared our area.

The good news is that we suffered minor damages on post and no lives were lost.

Following the storms, the Fort Meade Fire Department and the Directorate of Public Works worked together to remove fallen tree limbs and coordinated with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. regarding power outages on the installation.

Working together, Team Meade did all the things we would hope our emergency response teams would do to keep us safe in severe weather.

Friday's storms were the first severe weather storms of the summer. As we experience hotter weather, summer storms will continue. Knowing what to do when severe weather occurs allows everyone to enjoy outdoor summer activities and may save your life.

When you hear a weather alert, take steps to protect yourself and your family. Listen to radio and television for information and updates about the storm. If you're planning a trip outdoors, always listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

Severe weather is just one area we need to be mindful of as we continue our "101 Critical Days of Summer" campaign, which runs through the Labor Day weekend, ending Sept. 4.

Look for more information about ways you can keep safe throughout the summer in the Soundoff! Enjoy the summer months ahead and continue to make safety a personal matter.

Next week we celebrate the Army's 237th birthday. A variety of activities will be held on and off post as we celebrate with our local communities and their steadfast support of our Soldiers and families.

The 237th Army birthday commemorates America's Army - Soldiers, families and civilians - who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army strong.

Army birthday activities kick off June 14 at 7:30 a.m. at Club Meade as the Francis Scott Key Chapter Association of the U.S. Army sponsors an Army Birthday/Flag Day breakfast. There will be a guest speaker, Scott Sheads, a historian and ranger at Fort McHenry.

At 10 a.m. June 14, I will participate in a cake-cutting ceremony with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at the Columbia mall. Army units from our area also will have displays set up in the mall. The displays will be in place June 14 through June 16.

On June 15, the Bowie Baysox will help celebrate the Army's birthday. The game, which starts at 7:35 p.m., will feature the Army Color Guard from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The National Anthem will be performed by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. "God Bless America" will be performed by Sgt. 1st Class Erika Lehmkuhl, First Army Division East. Pfc. Wesley Pattillo, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, will throw out the first pitch.

The celebration will be highlighted by a group of future Soldiers who will be sworn into the Army.

I hope you are able to find time and join me for these events next week.

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