NATICK, Mass. (June 13, 2014) -- The U.S. Army Garrison-Natick Public Affairs Office earned first place in the Special Purpose Publication category in the 2014 National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition.

The NAGC competition had 325 entries in 41 categories this year from all levels of government from federal to local around the U.S. Canada and Montenegro were also represented. The awards were presented June 12 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

USAG-Natick won for "Year in Review 2012," a compilation of stories from those 12 months about the Natick Soldier Systems Center. The category included 26 publications from federal, state and municipal governments, and the USAG-Natick entry scored 262 out of 270 possible points from judges Bethany Hornbeck, Greg Letherman and Paula Turner of the National Energy Technology Laboratories.

"Our panel of judges was unanimous in rating this near perfect document our overall winner," they said. "From stellar and compelling writing, to professional photography and a dazzling layout, this publication went well beyond meeting our criteria; it set the standard. Many of us don't realize how much research goes into outfitting, feeding, and protecting our soldiers. Seldom have we seen a government document of any genre that was so engaging, so moving, and so well polished. This book made us want to read every page.

"Because this was the first edition of this publication, we were astounded at the creative vision of the staff, and we feel this document exceeded its stated goals and was well worth the meager price paid to produce it. In short, it was an honor for us to judge this publication, and we give it our highest recommendation, both as a model for good communication and as a great read!"

The USAG-Natick Public Affairs team earlier this year won the IMCOM Keith L. Ware Journalism Competition, the Department of the Army Keith L. Ware Journalism Competition and the Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Award for Best Digital Publication.

"This award is a complete team effort," said John Harlow, USAG-Natick Chief of Public Affairs. "Bob Reinert of USAG-Natick Public Affairs and Phil Fujawa of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center's Strategic Communications Division made this publication stand out. There were also significant contributions from Kelly Field from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Alexandra Foran from the NSRDEC Public Affairs Office, and Dave Kamm and Tom Kean from NSRDEC Strategic Communications.

"To know that our efforts are the best among all federal, state and municipal communicators is great. It shows the talent that we have here at Natick."

Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, NSSC's senior commander, praised the award-winning effort.

"The work done by our Public Affairs team keeps Natick on the minds of not just our Soldiers, but decision-makers throughout the Army," Cole said. "They not only tell the story of the equipment that protects our Soldiers, but they also tell the story of the people behind the equipment. We're very proud to have this team telling our story."