By Tom Budzyna, USAG Schinnen Public Affairs OfficeMarch 6, 2009
SCHINNEN, the Netherlands -- The International Military Community Executives Association, which provides professional accreditation, training and support to the military morale, welfare and recreation services, awarded the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award to Helen Gross, U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen's Army Community Service (ACS) Officer, in a ceremony at the Las Vegas Hilton & Convention Center Feb. 25.
Formerly known as the "MWR Rookie of the Year Award", the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award provides an incentive for new managers to aspire to great achievement early in their careers. Winners of the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award display exceptional management skill and leadership, achieve particularly outstanding performance results in their respective programs, and possess great potential for continued success.
"I am fortunate to lead a team of dedicated professionals who give 150 percent each and every day," says Gross, "and I have a supportive supervisor who has opened doors for my professional growth and, through mentorship, empowered me to be successful."
USAG Schinnen is a small, indirect-reporting garrison and the only Army garrison in the Netherlands. Helen's skills and her team have been able to deliver a level of services that rival or exceed those on larger installations. Gross applied Army Family Covenant support to improve ACS facilities, build an ACS team by filling long-vacant positions, training them, then leading them to achieve "accreditation with commendation" following a rigid inspection by Installation Management Command Europe in November 2008.
All this and more was accomplished by Gross in a single year.
In the same way the Army grows leaders, MWR activities across all the military services do the same. Over $4 billion in appropriated and non-appropriated funds is spent annually to support recreation, family and leisure programs for uniformed service personnel and their families. Recipients of this award represent those whose leadership and management skills in delivering MWR services are distinctly first-rate.
"I am grateful to be part of the USAG Schinnen community where together we work as a team to ensure mission readiness for our Soldiers and Families," says Gross.
The contributions by her and her team are exemplary. The USAG Schinnen ACS has expanded client contacts over 80 percent and in some categories over 200 percent. Real, substantive coordination occurs across international borders to other organizations to ensure military and family members in geographically remote and isolated locations receive first class support.
"We support Soldiers and Families who live just minutes between three European nations and every time a border is crossed there are a new set of rules to follow," says Joanne Hernandez, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for USAG Schinnen. "Helen has built a strong and exemplary ACS team that can lead clients through this maze and make USAG Schinnen a great place to live and work."
Despite its small size, USAG Schinnen has the largest area of responsibility of any other garrison in Europe and provides Army base operations services to joint and inter-agency communities in support of U.S. interests in NATO throughout the Netherlands and Northern Germany. Some clients also originate from Belgium.
Established in 1972 as an association for military club managers, the International Military Community Executives Association advances and improves the operation of MWR services and is very active in developing and presenting management and leadership programs to augment the training provided by the Department of Defense.
Other service recipients of the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award this year include Mindy Peterson, U.S. Marine Corps; Andrew Williams, U.S. Navy, Janelle Brown, U.S. Air Force; and Blair Markham, U.S. Coast Guard. For more information go to http://www.imcea.com/index.html.