Wisconsin takes top honors in this year's Army National Guard Army Communities of Excellence awards
Army Maj. Gen. Richard Gallant, special assistant to the director of the Army National Guard, presents Wisconsin National Guard representatives with the Overall Winner of the Army National Guard Communities of Excellence award at a ceremony held at t... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Wisconsin National Guard took top honors at this year's Army National Guard Army Communities of Excellence awards ceremony held at the Army National Guard Readiness Center May 23.

The Army National Guard also recognized the states and installations that best applied self-assessment and improved processes within their organization during the annual ceremony.

"We're striving to be better leaders, striving to be better organizations to be accountable and auditable to be more responsible to our soldiers, our civilian employees, our families and most importantly the citizens of the United States," said Maj. Gen. Richard Gallant, the special assistant to the Director of the Army National Guard.

The Army-wide program uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework--a framework that is widely used by businesses, hospitals, schools and non-profits--to improve efficiency and effectiveness in serving the Total Force by supporting Soldiers and customers across states and installations.

Runners up included the South Dakota National Guard, the North Carolina National Guard and Louisiana National Guard.

During the ceremony, Gallant charged participants with a task of sharing the knowledge they've acquired.

"You have a responsibility now: You have to share the best practices that you've developed through the process that you've gone through and you have to remain ambassadors for change in our organization."

A challenge that Wisconsin has practiced over its 18 years of submission to the ACOE program, finishing in the top ten 16 times which includes obtaining overall winner status three times and runner up three times.

"We've enjoyed continued success over the years of participation," said Brig. Gen. Kenneth A. Koon, the land component commander of the Wisconsin Army Guard. "The real reward, however, is not where we placed but rather in what we have learned as an overall organization."