Enhanced Compass Plaza provides improved place to gather

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82nd Training Wing

More than 65,000 Airmen in Training pass through Sheppard Air Force Base every year, attending technical training courses than can last from a few weeks to a few months at a time. Although their time with Team Sheppard may be short, Air Force Chaplain Col. Rolf Holmquist believes tech school provides the perfect opportunity to build a foundation of good character in young Airmen.

“Leaders of today need to set the standards of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do,” he said. “We know this, but it’s the application and follow through in the everyday operations tempo that makes it hard to apply. If we don’t, students will follow their past experiences, which might not have been good examples.”

Holmquist is guiding the development of Compass Plaza, a multi-phase plan to create a safe, welcoming environment for Airmen in training and others in the park between Avenue G and Avenue H, just south of the AAFES Mini Mall. Holmquist explained that the structures in the plaza look like a compass when viewed from the air. This realization sparked the name, which has a deeper meaning.

“The name was derived from the concept that all of us need to follow our true north, our moral compass,” he said.

The plaza was once a heavily traversed but dimly lit area. The 82nd Mission Support Group recently installed solar lights in the gazebos, which was the first of what Holmquist expects will be multiple improvements to the park.

According to Holmquist, the transformation exemplifies command priorities to promote mutual respect and healthy relationships.

“It’s important to make sure the outward spaces we provide for the Airmen reflect the values we need them to adopt in their inward spaces,” Holmquist said. “Improving and remaking Compass Plaza is part of that effort.”

Editor’s Note: Chaplain volunteers and other student Airmen have been part of the process of creating Compass Plaza – check out their video explaining its purpose here.