Soldiers earn $6,000 for spotless barracks
November 13, 2009
- The Kaiserslautern-unique Best Barracks Award Program offers cash awards to recognize residents who take care of their quarters
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Barracks' residents from the 212th Combat Support Hospital and 181st Signal Battalion "cleaned up" and took home more than half of the $6,000 cash award in the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's 2009 Best Barracks Award Program.
Originating in Kaiserslautern in August 2000, this cash-award program recognizes residents who show pride in where they live by making sure repairs are done, safety standards are met, and common areas are spotless, said Hans Huemer, the garrison's housing manager.
"It's a Kaiserslautern garrison unique program. We are the only garrison in Europe to have this program," he said. "It's a way for us to show Soldiers living in the barracks that someone cares for them and appreciates their hard work."
Kaiserslautern command sergeants major or their representatives conducted inspections Nov. 4 of competing barracks on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Miesau Army Depot, and Kleber and Daenner kasernes. Inspections included each of the barracks' exterior, storage, safety and serviceability of common areas.
By scrubbing top to bottom and in every nook and cranny of their barracks, 256 Soldiers share in this year's cash award.
The competition was divided into three categories - large renovated, small renovated and small un-renovated.
The 212th CSH residents of Bldg. 3707 on LRMC won first place in the renovated large category and will be awarded $1,500.
More 212th CSH Soldiers, who reside in Bldg. 1332 on Miesau, are also sharing in the cash award by winning in the small un-renovated category. They will receive $800.
Taking back their Best Barracks title were the 181st Signal Battalion residents of Bldg. 3824 on LRMC. They won in the small renovated category, earning $1,000 of the cash award. For four years in row, these Soldiers had won in their category, but last year, they received second place.
Receiving second place this year are: Company B, LRMC residents of Bldg. 3716 on LRMC, earning $800 in the large renovated category; Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion residents of Bldg. 3813 on LRMC, earning $700 in the small renovated category; and, 254th Medical Detachment residents of Bldg. 1326 on Miesau, earning $500 in the small un-renovated category.
The only third place winner was awarded to Company A, LRMC residents of Bldg. 3702 on LRMC, earning $700 in the large renovated category.
Huemer said cash prizes go into the winners' unit funds, which traditionally has been used to buy televisions or microwaves.
"These items are already available upon request in the supply system," he said. "I suggest using the winnings for something fun like having a party or a barbecue - something that is not available in the system."
Whatever the money is used for, leadership should make sure the money is for the barracks' occupants, said the garrison Directorate of Public Works Sgt. Maj. Sheldon Griffin, who was also one of the inspectors for this year's Best Barracks program.
"They were the ones who got on their hands and knees to clean. They were the ones that made sure broken items were fixed. So, they should be the ones who benefit from the money," Griffin said.
Best Barracks is a way for leadership to show that they care enough about barracks' occupants to inspect and reward them when standards are kept, Griffin added.
(Editor's Note: Christine June writes for the USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg's newspaper, the Herald Post.)