YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Garrison officials met with nearly 500 employees Aug. 11 at a special quarterly forum.

The Employee Information Forum is an opportunity to recognize outstanding employees for achievements earned in the past quarter and an open question and answer session between staff members and the commander.

"This is your chance to talk about what is going on the in Garrison and to focus on the way ahead," U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Commander Col. Dave Hall told the crowd. "I want to thank everyone in the room for all that you do."

Hall said working in a Garrison is often a thankless job with little positive feedback.

"When things go wrong, you are sure to hear about it," he said. "But I want to let you know that things are going right. The senior leadership has said great things about this Garrison, and from my heart, I thank you for making this a special place."

As the forum began, Hall and Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch presented 51 employees with letters of appreciation, certificates of achievement and seniority awards. Some employees earned Commander's Coins.

Hall told the group about the Garrison's third place victory and monetary prize in the 2008 Army Communities of Excellence competition.

"We are going to get our $750,000 next year, but we want to solicit the workforce for ideas on how we can spend the money wisely," he said. "We're going to reinvest that money into the community."

Hall praised the employees for their victory in the competition. He also encouraged the gathering to put safety first.

"We must make work place safety first and foremost in everything we do," he said. "We have new folks and we're always re-learning lessons."

Hall reminded the staff of recent traffic accidents near Yongsan Garrison Gate 1 and Camp Kim.

"Help make Yongsan a safe place to work and live," he said.

Hall answered employees questions on the future of Yongsan.

"We had two questions from the floor," said Casey Ross, USAG-Yongsan Plans, Analysis and Integration chief. "One question was about job security with respect to transition to the 'Standard Garrison Organization' and eventual closure and restationing to Camp Humphreys. The other question was about availability of training opportunities."

There is no change to the official Yongsan Relocation Plan, which has 2012 as the base closure year, Hall said. As more information becomes available he said he will share it with Garrison employees.

"I encourage you to seek out training opportunities, find new skill sets and make yourself as marketable as possible," Hall said. "None of us knows what the Garrison will look like in the future. I expect that in one year to 18 months we will have a better idea."

Finally, Hall called the employees attention the recent death of a long-time USAG-Yongsan staff member.

"We are an aging workforce," he said. "None of us is getting any younger. I implore you to take care of yourselves. You have to take care of your health."

The next Employee Information Forum will be in November.