The Community Needs to Know Just Who We Are
As part of Valhalla Project's non-profit, public benefit character it is essential that local opinion formers and members of the community understand the mission and operational profile of Valhalla, who will be managing and leading the project, and who the prospective residents of the property will be. Accordingly, a community outreach plan is necessary.
By taking the initiative to outreach to the community and inform and educate them about the mission, Valhalla leadership will be in a position to dispel potential rumor and possible fears about what the project represents and how it may impact the community.
Leaders need to be aware of several key points, including what Valhalla is not. First and foremost, it must be portrayed as exactly what it will be: a rural facility, agriculture and off-the-grid based, that will offer a place of security, retreat, and transition for combat Soldiers. Positive aspects are Soldier support; economic benefits to the community in the form of property taxes, local spending, and perhaps some contract labor; and a solid sense of satisfaction in giving back to Soldiers.
Potential negatives that must be quickly and firmly dispelled are that Valhalla is a cult, militia, commune, or otherwise anti-social facility. The obvious strategy to adopt here is complete transparency and full disclosure including open-ended invitations to visit and participate in Valhalla activities.
We Will Take the Initiative
Preemptive information dissemination is always a better approach. We intend to meet with and fully brief community opinion formers and formal and informal leadership, including political, law enforcement and emergency services, media, medical, veterans, schools, civic, and religious organizations. Our excellent realtor, Dianna Marquis is very supportive of Valhalla and we hope that she and her husband will facilitate introduction to some of these leaders and organizations.
We also hope to work directly with the local area fire marshall and fire department during the survey and planning phases of the project. Designing a solid fire defense plan with assistance from professional fire fighters will be a smart move in case of emergency and may be helpful in moving applications through the local building code enforcement authorities.
Leaders at the county, town, and city level will be approached individually and offered deskside or conference room briefings, we will meet with any print or electronic media corporations, address religious communities and civic clubs like Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis, seek out vets groups like VFW and American Legion, talk with the police and fire leadership, and generally spread the word about Valhalla and our mission.
We Expect to be Part of the Community
We anticipate that among the vast majority of local citizens that Valhalla will be seen over time as a significant economic, civic, and patriotic asset to the community and will be well received.
By holding regularly scheduled events at Valhalla to which the community or leadership is invited we will build relationships among the local residents. In addition by opening up certain aspects such as firing ranges for use by law enforcement and others we will build a sense of ownership among the community. At some point when they begin to brag about how much their community is doing to support American Soldiers we will know that we are fully integrated in the area.
In time we will also have to show the flag. We will seek to be invited to join civic organizations and participate in local events such as fairs and exhibits. We can have Soldier-volunteers make brief presentations to schools, Scouts, and civic groups. By maintaining a policy of friendship, outreach, transparency, and honesty Valhalla will be a good organizational citizen and major contributor to any rural comminity.