PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - If Greg McKrill had his way, all service members would know how lucky they were to have Outdoor Recreation and never forget it.

McKrill, who has been with the Presidio of Monterey Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation since 2003, said it disappoints him when, in most cases, students coming into the ODR facility for the first time are only there in to process out for their next duty station.

"We'll get service members coming through those doors saying they've never heard of us, or didn't know this facility was here," McKrill said.

Located on what is commonly known to Presidio personnel as lower POM, the ODR facility offers services such as discounted trips, travel and lodging arrangements and has the latest sporting goods and camping equipment to take advantage of the incomparable California outdoor sports culture.

"We have all new gear, because no one wants to use old stuff," said ODR manager Mike Foy, while watching a pair of Soldiers get fitted with snowboarding equipment for an ODR weekend trip.

The acquisition of new gear has caused a surplus of extra gear that ODR is currently selling to the Presidio community, Foy said, explaining that the "old stuff" is actually equipment in very good shape.

Pfc. Daniel Malmo, Co. F 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, who will be taking part in the ODR snowboarding trip for the first time in his near year-long stay on POM said that he found out about the trip through what has been ODR's claim to fame: word-of-mouth.

"Actually, I came in because a friend recommended it," Malmo said. "And my experience with ODR has been wonderful. The staff has been very supportive and helpful, they even made sure my equipment was tailored to me."

Word-of-mouth may be the largest marketing technique for customers that use ODR, but McKrill and the ODR staff strive to improve on that.

"I go to the Joint Service In-processing Briefs to give the new service members information on ODR now," McKrill said, who explained he never again wants to hear from an out-processing service member that during their time at the Presidio, "I didn't have anything to do."

McKrill, who is also the POM Better Opportunities for Single Servicemembers representative, also uses other avenues to inform, such as posting to Facebook and hosting BOSS meetings in the ODR facility.

"We are always looking ahead and planning out what we do for the (Presidio of Monterey community)," McKrill said of the ODR staff's commitment to giving service members the best possible opportunities, prices and classes, which include surfing, scuba and mountain biking.

"Working here every day and seeing these students, I can feel the sense of pride and country, especially during our time of war," said McKrill, who explained that all the ODR employees try to make the students' time here a little easier because the staff appreciates the sacrifices service members make.

"I feel it is my obligation when people walk through our doors to come out of here with something that they can take away and remember," McKrill said, adding that ODR offers classes such as surfing, scuba and mountain biking.

He also said that although it is his job to motivate his customers to take advantage of their outdoor community, ultimately, it is each person's choice.

"It is a challenge-by-choice," McKrill said. "We don't want to make anyone do anything they don't want to do. But we challenge them to try."

Page last updated Tue March 23rd, 2010 at 18:21