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Good as Gold

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Nestled in the Heart Kentucky, Greater Fort Knox Area Offers Support & Friendship To Soldiers And Families

By Donna Boyle Schwartz

The name “Fort Knox” nearly always calls to mind visions of gold…and innumerable thrilling movie plots about daring schemes to steal the treasure. But the real riches in Fort Knox are the friendly spirit and supportive welcome that it offers to soldiers and military families stationed at this leading U.S. Army installation.

“The local towns seem to love military families!” enthuses Kelsey Steveley, a military spouse of more than 10 years. “Some towns have held events for military families with free food and entertainment. There are also several establishments with military discounts. Our local church is predominantly civilian but has been so supportive when my husband has been TDY (temporary duty assignment,) or deployed.”

Kelsey and her husband, U.S. Army Major Adam Steveley, moved to Fort Knox with their two toddlers, Sadie and Caroline, two years ago, and they have found the area to be warm and gracious towards military families. “Fort Knox does not have the glamorous appeal of a lot of Navy locations, but we have liked it a lot!” she remarks on the close-knit community. “We chose to live on post since we knew my husband may be TDY quite a bit during our time here. We really enjoy the community on post!

“The last time we lived on post we did not have any kids,” she continues. “I love seeing kids out playing all year long and the spontaneous get-togethers on our street. We hoped that would be our experience here for our kids, and we have not been disappointed. My daughter is constantly looking outside to see who is out to play, climbing trees, riding bikes, walking to the library, and having neighborhood bonfires. It will certainly be hard to leave next summer!”

Fort Knox is the 15th largest city in Kentucky by population, covering 108,955 acres spread over three Kentucky counties: Hardin, Meade, and Bullitt. The Army installation is home to more than 30 commands and organizations employing more than 25,200 soldiers, including the U.S. Army Forces Command war fighting units and Reserve component training units as well as the U.S. Army Cadet Command and U.S. Army Recruiting Command, which are responsible for identifying, educating, and recruiting the Army’s newest officers and soldiers. The commander of Cadet Command also serves as the installation’s commanding general.

The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Kentucky Bullion Depository is located adjacent to Fort Knox and stores the gold bullion reserves for the United States. About half of the Treasury’s stored gold – more than 147.3 million ounces – is kept at Fort Knox, representing between $185-$190 billion, depending on the current price of gold. No visitors are permitted at the depository.

The Steveleys enjoy the myriad outdoor activities that the region offers, including hiking and water sports. “Outside Fort Knox there are tons of trails, waterfalls, caves, and lakes,” Steveley notes. “If you love the outdoors, there is no shortage of things to do! Right off post you can hike to see Tioga Falls or Buttermilk Falls. Further away are Natural Bridge, Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, and Lake Cumberland.

“If you are willing to drive, there are so many wonderful places in the area,” she continues. “Within the Louisville area there is an amusement park, zoo, science center, minor league baseball, the Kentucky Derby, Louisville Slugger Museum, Bernheim Forest, Big Four Bridge downtown, and tons of shopping areas. The Kentucky Bourbon trail is right here in the Fort Knox area with tons of distilleries to visit. Mammoth Caves is a short drive and also close to Kentucky Down Under, where you can pet and feed kangaroos.”

There are many regional activities, including MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) events run by the local communities. “These are a great time for families – they offer 5K and kid’s runs, Oktoberfest, 4th of July, and Christmas tree lighting to name a few,” Steveley remarks. “Right off post is a coffee shop, The Gathering Bakery. This has become such a sweet place for families to gather. There is a large area to sit, games, kid’s toys, friendly employees, fun events, and great food and drinks.” Fort Knox is also the home of the General George Patton Museum, which is open year-round.

The one downside to all of the outdoor fun is the prevalence of allergens. “Seasonal allergies in the Ohio River Valley are rough,” she points out, adding, “You may also have to drive quite a bit for adequate medical care.”

There are numerous resources both on and off-base to help newcomers integrate into the community, including spouse’s clubs. “ACS has resources available to help families adjust to the area,” Steveley comments. “I also think PWOC and the spouse’s club can really help families adjust. PWOC meets weekly during the school year to study the Bible. They have free childcare available and several ways to get to know other women through volunteering and fun social events. The spouse’s club has a large sub club offering where you to show her love for Ft. Knox can meet up with others for coffee, try new restaurants, tour distilleries, run, play dates, book club, etc.

“Like any post, it is going to be what you make of it,” she adds. “If you live off post, get involved off post. If you live on post, get involved in PWOC or the spouse’s club. The people here will be lifelong friends!”

All About the Greater Fort Knox Region

From the greater Fort Knox website:

The greater Fort Knox region includes the communities of Bardstown, Brandenburg, Elizabethtown, Fort Knox, Hardinsburg, Muldraugh, Radcliff, Vine Grove and the counties of Breckinridge, Bullitt, Hardin, LaRue, and Meade.

“Thousands of people who call it home take great pride in supporting the soldiers, civilian employees and their families who serve our great nation at Fort Knox. We want to help you make a smooth transition to our region.

“As you’ll soon find, you are moving to a place that boasts an unmatched quality of life with affordable housing of all types, top-rated public and private schools and world-class healthcare. The vibrant and growing economy provides numerous job opportunities for family members, and our business-friendly climate makes it an ideal place for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Each of our communities offers its own unique charm with numerous shopping and dining selections and a variety of recreation, entertainment and cultural arts opportunities. And when you crave time in a larger metropolitan area, Louisville is just up the road and many other cities are within an easy two-hour drive.”

The non-profit Knox Regional Development Alliance is a community-based organization dedicated to promoting the greater Fort Knox region and supporting the soldiers, civilian employees, and families living and working in the area.

American Forces Travel