NEWS | Nov. 1, 2016

Continue strong in the Army Reserve Ambassador program

By Vonda Chisolm

WASHINGTON - The Army Reserve Ambassador (ARA) Program was established in April 1998 to promote awareness of the Army Reserve and the identified goals and objectives of the Chief of Army Reserve (CAR).

Ambassadors serve as liaisons between the Army Reserve (AR) and the state in which they serve. In this role, Ambassadors strive to enhance understanding and knowledge throughout their communities and are a powerful means of message delivery to the American people.

The ARA program provides an avenue for our own centers of influence to engage stakeholders at the state and local level.  

As Retired Soldiers, Ambassadors have an inherent interest in military affairs and continue to serve strong by using their unique capabilities, skills and talents within the ARA program.

The Army Reserve relies on Ambassadors to gain support from elected officials and engage stakeholders at the local levels; garner community support for AR events and needs; open doors in business, industry and institutions of higher learning; educate and inform the public/government/ business/military and veteran service organizations about the value and positive return on investment of the Army Reserve; and build a cadre of supporters and advocates that can be activated when necessary. 

Local decision makers need to know how we fit into their communities, and our opportunities to tell the AR story to this population are extremely limited. Furthermore, AR unit leaders tend to be from outside the local communities, thus creating a challenge. 

How do we tell the AR story and to whom do we tell it? The ARAs answer both of these challenges and more. While leaders transition in and out to meet the needs of the Army Reserve, ARAs are vested in the community. With those connections, ARAs serve as an invaluable resource and provide continuity over the long term.  

"Most of us have had full careers in the Army and being an Ambassador affords us the opportunity to not only show our gratitude for that career, but to stay in touch with, and occasionally help, America's finest," said retired U. S. Army Col. John Topper, who is currently serving his second term as Ambassador for Indiana.  

For more information,visit the featured tab at If you are interested in continuing to "SERVE STRONG," contact Mrs. Vonda Chisolm, AR Ambassador Program Manager at (703) 806-7717 or email