What Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey described as the community’s love affair with the U.S. Armed Forces was enhanced Thursday when the 21st Cavalry Brigade adopted Brownwood High School.

“This puts an emphasis on the great love affair the Brownwood community has had since at least 1940 with the armed forces and especially the U.S. Army,” Massey said in a ceremony that preceded the securing of a sign in front of the campus.

“This is a unique compliment to Brownwood and the Brownwood Independent School District. Brownwood is pro-military, and we’re proud of our great relationship with the 21st Cavalry.”

Massey said he understands that it is common for Fort Hood military components to adopt schools in the area around Killeen, but that Brownwood is the most distant of schools which have been selected.

Col. Scott Thompson confirmed it.

“This is the farthest school from Fort Hood,” Thompson said. “Just about every school around Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights has been adopted.”

He said a school that the 21st Cavalry had adopted in Lampasas closed, opening the door for the adoption of Brownwood High.

“Our mission is to make your school a better school, and to have an impact on you as students so you will have a better experience,” Thompson said. “We are excited about this partnership and whatever it is you want it to become.” He encouraged students and parents to discuss their wishes with the school administration.

“This is not about trying to recruit students into the Army,” Thompson added, “although 26 years in, I can say that’s it’s a pretty good career. It’s about making this a better school.”

Dr. Reece Blincoe, superintendent, said the partnership reflects the type of cooperative environment the school district is working to enhance.

“The key to success is having everybody help,” Blincoe said. “Everybody cooperates. But we’ve gone a step beyond that… We have added a partner, and we are so thankful. This will help our youth reach their dreams.”

Blincoe said the school district is putting an emphasis on developing a workforce through school education by helping all students “reach their dreams, to develop a passion and decide what they want to do with their lives.”

The ceremony was highlighted by the presentation of a “citation of excellence” from state Sen. Troy Fraser, presented to Thompson by Debbie Morelock. She also gave him a plate of brownies; and large collection of cookies was on its way to the 21st Cavalry in training at Camp Bowie.

Several speakers at the ceremony, including BHS Principal Bill Faircloth, expressed their appreciation to Dr. Steve Kelly for his work in building and maintaining the community’s relationship with the 21st Cavalry, and the scholarships his foundation offers students.

“The 21st Cavalry performs a unique training service,” Massey said. “It is the formation that trains Apache pilots in tactics. It’s not done anywhere else… We’ve had the opportunity to learn to know a number of commanders, and they are all a great group of Americans. It is a privilege to know them.”

Representatives from the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Brownwood school board and Brownwood City Council were among those who joined high school students, administrations and Army personnel at the ceremony.