By Michelle Stewart
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public AffairsThe U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center can tout that its Family Readiness Program is an award winner due to the hard work and forward thinking of the ERDC Reachback Center's Division Chief Garsheo "Gus" Black. Black was recently named the recipient of the 2016 Family Readiness Individual Excellence Award.Black serves as the ERDC Family Readiness Coordinator in a program he designed, implemented and maintains to identify and meet the specific needs of ERDC team members.According to the award nomination, Black has progressively moved the ERDC Family Readiness Program with limited funding and has tailored the program to continue supporting the needs of ERDC team members and families. As part of his recent contributions, Black was instrumental in launching the Military One Source within ERDC and assisted in the development of the ERDC Casualty Notification Officer Plan. Black had continued the expansion and enhancement of the FRP through community outreach. He has reached out to social service agencies, nonprofit groups, and church or other religious groups, to identify a specific need in the community. As part of his outreach, he coordinated support for service programs that have faced severe shortages, such as Toys for Tots and the ERDC Feed Families Food Drive Campaign, where he engages organizations such as the Vicksburg Storehouse Food Pantry, American Red Cross, United Way, Military Homefront, Army One Source, Military Once Source and the Department of Veterans Affairs in support of the ERDC FRP.Black meets the challenge of maintaining the FRP for ERDC's seven site, thus ensuring that the FRP is a truly ERDC-wide program."As part of my communication with all the ERDC sites I make frequent presentations and distribute the Family Readiness Network Newsgram through the USACE Family Readiness Network," Black said.As part of the FRP, Black exhibits great initiative to help with procedures to supply individuals and their loved ones deploying or deployed in support of overseas contingencies and natural disasters with the proper information and point of contact to meet their loved ones needs."This award is not about me," Black said. "It's about the people in our community and helping them. I don't do this because I want an award, I do this becomes it comes from the goodness of my heart. We really have people in the community who need help."