ACS program troubleshoots life-related issues
Danielle "Danie" Denis (left), Information and Referral program manager, and Heather Smith, volunteer, ensure an agency contact list is kept up-to-date.

STUTTGART, Germany -- If information is power, Danielle "Danie" Denis must be a superwoman.

As the Information, Referral and Follow-Up program manager for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart's Army Community Service, Denis has reams of information at her fingertips about resources, programs and services, both on and off base.

She and her staff are the link between community members who need assistance and the organizations that provide it.

The USAG Stuttgart ACS Information, Referral and Follow-Up program provides help or resources for a wide variety of issues, from a request for the phone number of a service, to child and spouse abuse or marital problems.

"When customers walk into ACS, their first contact is with Information and Referral," Denis said. "We find out what they need and point them in the right direction."

The program resembles a help desk - only instead of troubleshooting computer systems, life-related issues are handled.

"We solve problems," Denis said.

It could be as simple as sending a fax to the States or as complicated as helping a spouse through a separation.

If a solution is not within the ACS organization, Denis will refer clients to the proper agency.

"The reality is we don't know it all - but we know where to go for information, and we're willing to go find it for you," said Denis, a former high school guidance counselor.

Denis' background complements the skill set needed in her current line of work.

"My natural tendency is to listen to what your needs are, and find the solution or answer to what you are looking for - regardless of the program or service you need," Denis said.

She maintains this attitude even when the request takes an unusual turn.

Denis, who is originally from Haiti, speaks French. She found herself putting her language skills to work after a Soldier contacted ACS for help.

His car had broken down in France, and he needed to get it fixed. Part of the solution involved new tires that were not readily available. "I had to order tires. It was a very detailed process. But I was happy to do this," she said.

Many people are surprised at what they find when they visit ACS. "A lot of times they come in for one thing and are happy to find out they have access to more services than they thought," she said.

Take Nancy Hudson, for example, A Marine spouse arrived in Stuttgart last August. "The first thing I did when I got here was go to ACS," she said. "I asked questions about how life is here and what I need to do to get a job."

Hudson said Denis directed her to the Army Volunteer Corps, where she signed up to be a volunteer, and provided her with useful information on writing a resume.

"I even got the information about my job through ACS," said Hudson, who is a contracted social media writer for U.S. Africa Command's Public Affairs Office.

"[Denis] even guided me in writing the proposal for the job. It was awesome. She knew exactly what I needed to do," Hudson said.

That kind of sentiment is the payoff for Denis. "My reward is knowing that a customer leaves ACS ... with what they came in for, and more," she said.

Page last updated Mon April 5th, 2010 at 06:11