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Job Well Done, My Friend: Change of Command at the Yakima Training Center

As mayor of Yakima, I’ve been blessed to share a working relationship with a number of people from various government agencies, and every once in a while I develop personal friendships with some of these people.

One in particular is Lt. Col. Darrell O’Steen of the Yakima Training Center. Although we haven’t seen each other as much as we would like, we’ve put our time together to good use.

He’s often shared with me his perspective as an outsider to Yakima and his thoughts on different subjects in the community. We’ve talked about leadership and how we could improve the jobs we were doing here in Yakima.

Lt. Col. O’Steen talks proudly about his love for the valley, and how much he appreciates the citizens who always come up and thank him for his service. Lt. Col. O’Steen has been deeply involved in the community. He has often texted me and offered help or support for community events that he’s heard about.

Today Lt. Col. O’Steen gave up command of the Yakima Training Center during a change-of-command ceremony ending his current assignment in Yakima. I can tell from the turnout that he will be missed.

His gentle Georgia accent and calm demeanor helped him build many relationships that I’m sure he’ll carry on to his next assignment and beyond. Col. Charles Hodges, who oversees the Yakima Training Center as part of his duty as commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Lt. Col. O’Steen has done an incredible job of carrying out his mission in Yakima and an equally fine job being involved in the community.

The colonel also joked that O’Steen’s wife had scheduled back surgery for the next day because “she had been carrying him their whole career.” Even though he was joking, Col Hodges emphasized how difficult it is to be a military spouse and thanked the lieutenant colonel’s wife and family for their support of “Team O’Steen.”

I will miss Lt. Col. O’Steen not only because he’s been a great leader and helped build a strong relationship between YTC and the city of Yakima, but because he was my friend.

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