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Citadel News Service
2 Aug 2017

Commandant’s office leads by example for annual civic engagement project

Servant leadership model at The Citadel demonstrated by staff volunteers

Contributed by Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty, USA (Ret.)
(Video of the event below)

Sarah Lyles Long’s ties to The Citadel run deep.

She is the great-great-great-grandniece of Brig. Gen. Ellison Capers, Citadel Class of 1857, after whom, Capers Hall is named. This connection was made stronger on July 18, 2017, when members of The Citadel’s Commandant’s Department joined forces with Long and her family to transform their Mount Pleasant backyard into a space she can enjoy for years to come. Long likes being outdoors watching the birds and other wildlife, but unfortunately, has been unable to enjoy such pleasures in her backyard because uneven ground, roots, and other obstructions have made it inaccessible by her wheelchair.

In recent years, the Commandant’s Department has culminated its staff summer training with a civic engagement day working at places such as Windwood Farm and One80 Place. After hearing Long’s story, the Office of the Commandant was enthusiastic about the opportunity to dedicate this year’s community service project to Long.

More than 30 members of the department participated in the home improvement project, dividing tasks among themselves such as building a 55-foot-long walkway that gives Long access to her backyard and a low-level deck so she can enjoy the outdoors near ground level. In addition to The Citadel’s crew, several members of the neighborhood and local businesses made significant contributions to the project including designing the deck, donating greenery and providing lunch for the participants. Some 200 plants, shrubs, and trees were planted or transplanted within the area to both beautify the backyard and create a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Work groups also created a flagstone path from the deck to the other side of the yard.

Over the past several years, the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics has helped make civic engagement an inherent part of The Citadel experience. Every year cadets serve collectively on Leadership Day, and in company groups, as teams, and as individuals on other occasions. The attitude is infectious, and the Commandant’s Department feels fortunate for the opportunity to lead by example in the growing Citadel culture of civic engagement. Brig. Gen. Capers would surely be pleased.



Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty, USA (Ret.) is the assistant commandant for leadership programs at The Citadel and served as project officer for Operation Sarah Lyles.

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