Jan 14, 2015
Herb Hays Furniture opened in Hopkinsville in the 1960s. Owner Peg Hays remembers how hard business was when half of the troops at Fort Campbell were deployed during the Gulf War.
"The economic result of that was catastrophic to the whole region," Hays said Wednesday.
Now the longtime business owner is worried about something that could be even worse: a draw-down that could send as many 40,000 people, including soldiers and their families, out of the region.
"They're not going to get their hair fixed. They're not going to get their clothes cleaned. They're not going to get their oil changed. And the list just goes on and on," she said.
That's why leaders from Kentucky and Tennessee are urging people to let the Army know how important Fort Campbell is during a listening session next Tuesday.
Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks said there may be no avoiding the sequestration cuts that threaten Fort Campbell, but the post offers some of the best military resources in an area with very low cost of living.
"So if the goal of this process is to find savings for the military and for the country, then we would argue invest in Fort Campbell because it's where you have the greatest return and greatest efficiency," Hendricks said. "Fort Campbell is not just any installation. It has unique capacities."
As Army posts go to battle on who should be saved and who shouldn't, there is also major concern that gutting nearly half of the soldiers at Fort Campbell will put the U.S. at risk abroad and here at home.
"So by reducing those forces I feel that probably really bigger than the economic impact is the reduction in the ability to keep the United States defended," Hays said.
The meeting will be Tuesday from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Fort Campbell Family Resource Center (FRC) located at 1501 William C. Lee Road. Attendees can enter at Gate One with a valid photo ID card, beginning at 4 p.m.
Those attending will be allowed entrance to the FRC building beginning at 4:30 p.m. All bags are subject to inspection.
A group of local leaders from Kentucky and Tennessee just returned from Washington D.C. to explain why Fort Campbell is crucial to our region and the Army.