By Zachary Daum
Jenna Smith, the director of the Leu Civic Center in Mascoutah, has been chosen as one of the honorary commanders at Scott Air Force Base. The announcement came as part of Team Scott’s initiative to foster stronger connections between the military and local community leaders.
Smith shared her excitement about the opportunity, stating, “The opportunity was sent to me by somebody on base, and it looked like an excellent opportunity for the Leu Civic Center. I thought it was a great way to connect to base life. A few months later, I found out I was selected, and we had our induction ceremony on Tuesday.”
As an honorary commander, Smith is part of a select group of 24 community leaders from across the St. Louis metropolitan region chosen for the 2025 Class of Honorary Commanders. This prestigious program, spanning two years, is designed to educate and increase knowledge and understanding of the military and the installation at Scott Air Force Base.
Smith emphasized the significance of the program, saying, “I think that the biggest thing is the opportunity to better serve our military community is really the end goal. It’s something we say in our mission statement, to ‘uphold better,’ and I think everyone here on our staff is looking forward to helping them.”
Lt. Col. Geoffrey Goldsmith sponsors Smith throughout the two-year program, immersing her in military life to foster a deeper understanding between civilians and the military community. Smith expressed her hope that this program would bridge the gap for families in the area, stating, “So many of our instructors here (at the civic center) are military. They help us a ton, but there are so many families they get on the regular that have no idea what services are available for them, and I hope this program brings that opportunity to new families in the area.”
Colonel John Poole, the 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, highlighted the importance of the Honorary Commanders program, stating, “This program provides us an opportunity to connect with civic leaders who are not familiar with the military or with the base. It gives us a chance to help them understand who we are, what we do, and why we do it.”
The program involves briefings and tours of Scott’s global mobility missions, providing honorary commanders with an in-depth understanding of the various missions, programs, and assets of the Air Force Base. Honorary commanders are also matched with military commanders to build one-on-one rapport and facilitate direct engagements with units.
Congratulations to Jenna Smith and the other esteemed members of the 2025 Class of Honorary Commanders, who represent a diverse range of business, government, and education specialties from cities across Illinois and Missouri.
In addition to her recent honor, Jenna Smith has been making a significant impact as the director of the Leu Civic Center since taking on the role last year. Her commitment to the community is evident in the various programs and renewal initiatives she has introduced, including the recent remodel of the entrance and plans for a soon-to-be-implemented handicap-accessible classroom, showcasing her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility in education.