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Fort Bliss' commanding general talks about what plagues the city, post
By: Gina Benitez
FORT BLISS, Texas
The new leader of Fort Bliss held the annual State of the Military address on post Thursday morning.
Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland talked about the current state of the military, his future vision and some of the issues he believes currently plague the post along with Fort Bliss.
"We can't fool ourselves. We have an image problem to overcome," said MacFarland.
MacFarland addressed an issue he feels not only plagues El Paso but also trickles down to the installation.
"Part of our challenge is that Fort Bliss and El Paso are both so big that few of our visitors are ever here long enough to see it all," said MacFarland.
MacFarland said people are also filled with preconceived notions about border violence, lack of amenities and poor education.
"We need the cream of the crop to come here to Fort Bliss. But they're not going to do that if they don't realize we have good schools and all the amenities and attractions of all the other major cities in the United States," said MacFarland.
"We have to overcome what has happened with being realistic. There has been violence, that has been an issue in Mexico. Unfortunately, people paint that image with a broad stroke and cover El Paso with it as well," said Richard Dayoub, president and CEO of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
It's not just preconceived notions.
Even though El Paso is the largest off-post community in the Army, most installations are only about an hour away from a major metropolis.
And Dayoub admitted it's a lot easier to attract people to a beachside community than one on in a desert.
The El Paso Chamber of Commerce told KFOX 14 there's a whole team behind the scenes already working at this.
"We have a national firm that's involved. DCI, who's contracted with the city to get the message out across the country about what a great community we have," Dayoub said.
"They're constantly alerting us to new opportunities to feature positive things about the community. They capture every positive message they can find and then send it out to all the media," Dayoub said.