Fort Polk Progress changes name to suit statewide mission

Fort Polk Progress is now Louisiana Armed Forces Alliance, a change resulting from the organization's effort to take on more of a statewide mission.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - Fort Polk Progress, the non-profit organization representing the interests of Fort Polk assets and military service families living at the post, has undergone a rebranding effort, following the federal effort to rename the military post it represents.

Fort Polk Progress is now Louisiana Armed Forces Alliance, a change which came after a unanimous vote at the June 16 board of directors meeting to rename the organization in light of the recommendation for Fort Polk to be renamed Fort Johnson.

“We’re taking the situation, the cards that have been dealt and capitalizing on them and rebranding Ft. Polk progress as we go,” said Leesville Mayor Rick Allen, who is also acting chairman of the organization.

Though the renaming of the post has received mixed reactions for Vernon Parish residents, LAFA viewed the change as an opportunity to fully shift toward the statewide mission they had begun to develop.

“We know the impact that all of the military has on the state, not just the Army. So, we really viewed it as a time to take our mission and make it bigger,” said Emily McGruder, LAFA’s director of membership. “It’s a good change, so even though it took a lot of work, it was awesome, and it’s nice seeing how it’s already paying off. We’re already forming those connections.”

Those are connections LAFA is now creating with other military installations around Louisiana, a state where the military is the third largest economic driver. Military servicemembers, their families and military assets quite literally feed many of the communities installations call home.

“We’ll always be stronger together, and as long as we can continue to work together across the state and protect the $9.64 billion of federal money that comes into our state’s economy and the 77,000 jobs across the great state of Louisiana that are directly because of military assets, we’ll be better,” said Allen.

It is that idea that moved Fort Polk forward, and it is the same idea LAFA leaders now hope to bring to other installations as they expand their mission.

“What do you need? How can we partner with you? And how can we be your ally to make sure that Louisiana is represented the best, we are getting what we need and we continue to have this huge economic driver here,” said McGruder.

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