Employee spotlight shines on drug testing coordinator
February 1, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Editor's note: The Employee Spotlight is a new monthly column meant to highlight a Fort Sill worker for their daily efforts.
Bruce Eckenroth is prepared to tell Soldiers the dangers of using and abusing drugs and alcohol. As Fort Sill's Army Substance Abuse Program assistant drug testing coordinator, he's been doing so for more than a decade.
He started as a drug tester for his unit in 1998 when he was an active-duty Soldier. He was stationed here and assigned to B Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Field Artillery where he deployed to Iraq in 2003. He eventually retired at Fort Sill.
His transition to the Well Being Center was a smooth one as he now trains Unit Prevention Leaders on how to test Soldiers, and, hopefully, deter them from using substances.
He said the best part of his job is interacting with service members.
"I'm an old Soldier, I'm a retiree and a lot of them I still know in some way shape or form. I still actively participate in events with them," said Eckenroth.
"I see the prevention, the deterrence portion is helping some of the Soldiers,"said Eckenroth.
He said for those coming from a background of using drugs, he and his coworkers work on re-educating them.
"You can't fix everybody, you can only fix the ones who are willing to be fixed."
Eckenroth said he takes his days as a non-commissioned officer leading safety briefings into his work now as he encourages Soldiers to do the right thing, especially with the Army's drawdown.
"Don't just sit there and hope somebody comes to help you because you don't want it that way. A lot of the units are going first time offense you're gone, regardless if it's an alcohol incident or drug offense.
"I tell them they need to make adjustments to their life and be ready for the worst. If you caused a problem then you need to be prepared," said Eckenroth.
He talked about the real-life consequences of bad choices and he cited Dallas Cowboy's player Josh Brent. Brent was recently charged with intoxication manslaughter after a car accident that killed his Cowboys teammate, Jerry Brown.
"We have to be prepared to talk about those things. If you're not willing to talk to the Soldiers about it and help deter them you're not helping them. They have to understand those problems," said Eckenroth.
Because of his efforts, Eckenroth was lauded as a key factor in making Fort Sill one of the best biochemical departments in the Army.
"I joined the Army to care about somebody and they taught me to care about Soldiers. I've been caring about Soldiers for my whole Army and now my civilian career," said Eckenroth.