By Robert Dozier and Brittany Nelson, IMCOM Public AffairsNovember 17, 2017
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Nov. 16, 2017) -- Joe Capps, chief of staff at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, recognized 15 civilians for their leadership during the 2017 Garrison Commanders Conference. Joining Capps on stage to present the Stalwart Awards was Command Sgt. Maj. Melissa Judkins, under the attentive eye of Karen M. Perkins, director of human resources, as other recipients from past years looked on.
"The Stalwart was approved as a regimental award by the Secretary of the Army in 2003," said Mike Hartman, deputy chief of staff at IMCOM and Stalwart Award recipient from 2008. "We're fortunate to have 12 past recipients still working with us. They are the best and brightest in the installation management business."
During the presentations, the recipients received their individual achievement medal, a certificate and a shadow box. The certificate reads: "for extraordinary achievement, dedication to excellence and inspirational team spirit during the period 1 January to 31 December 2016. Your contributions to the Installation Management Command and the United States Army far exceed the call of duty."
"It feels good to know that people appreciate the hard work," said Tanja Turner, in Family and MWR programs from U. S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir. "It's all about people around you. A team to me means that we're all working at the same level and understand what we need to accomplish. They have to make sure our customers are taken care of; if they do it the right way, we've accomplished our goal."
Turner was one of three recipients from IMCOM-Sustainment. Also recognized were Jason K. Gove, from USAG Natick, Massachusetts, and Roderick T. Smith from USAG Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.
"I was so humbled when I learned I was nominated, because I know some of the previous Stalwart award recipients, and to be able to follow in their footsteps, it was very meaningful for me," said Kristina L. Davis, from USAG Rheinland-Pfalz and currently working in IMCOM-Europe in the G3-5-7 office. "I used to work for Col. John Curry; he was one of my first Army bosses. Often, when I'm in a tough spot, I think 'what would Col. Curry do' and so to wear the same medal that he wears, it brought me to tears when I was nominated."
Davis was recognized along with Sabine Schindler from USAG Wiesbaden, also from IMCOM-Europe.
"I am IMCOM to the core," said Kario D. Harris, director of the Plans, Analysis and Integration office from USAG Yongsan. "It feels good for me to be able represent my team, because I tell everybody -- I couldn't do what I do without the support of all my directorates and special staff chiefs, my commander and command sergeant major. They make it easy for me to do what I do."
Harris was recognized along with Monica H. Richmond, from USAG Daegu, also from IMCOM-Pacific.
"Treating everyone in your organization from lowest to highest with respect and dignity -- that's the essence of leadership," Harris said. "Everyone in your organization must be willing to do the job the right way all the time, and own your actions."
The recipients shared a sense of humility and honor after being awarded the Stalwart.
"It's definitely an honor, it's a huge honor," said Emily E. Nunn with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at USAG Fort Polk. "I just wish our team was with me [today] because I couldn't do my job without them."
Nunn was recognized along with Troy A. Hershberger from USAG Fort Dix, New Jersey, Tamara Smith, from USAG Fort Campbell, and Caroline Staton, all from IMCOM-Readiness.
"Definitely seek a mentor, if you have questions just ask," Nunn says in regards to becoming a leader. "You need to lead by example. I think it's about loyalty as well to the job and the mission."
"I'll tell you it was a huge surprise to learn I had even been nominated for it, let alone [receive] it," said Stephen Baker, director of Public Affairs at USAG Fort Lee. "I have an incredible team that really does an incredible job integrating the information flow, bringing our partners together in the community on post and off post to make sure that our Soldier and Family are well taken care of."
Baker was recognized along with Robert P. Johnson from USAG Fort Leonard Wood, and Philip M. Sanders from USAG Presidio of Monterey, both IMCOM-Training. The 15th recipient recognized was Doris A. Anders with the Environmental Command.
Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, IMCOM commander, and host of the conference, stressed the importance of the Service Culture Initiative in IMCOMs "Divest, Reshape, and Invest" video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub_TcLWK958, shown during the session.
When asked about the video, Nunn replied: "I think that's very inspiring. It's a good vision for the future."
"The service culture initiative is indicative of a desire on the part of IMCOM to well articulate those things we should all be thinking about and doing as IMCOM professionals," Baker said. "We are a service organization, we are here to serve the Soldiers and the Families at our installations around the world, and the SCI is an important part of that."
Receiving recognition stimulated thoughts about the future for these recipients.
"I'm attempting to serve my director and implement changes in our ISR program, tying more closely to readiness," Davis said. "For the young leader, keep your focus in whatever you are doing, on the reason why we are here -- to support the Soldier and Family member. We all have a part, whether we directly interface each day or not, it is still important."
"It's a great thing, what IMCOM is doing. Good, strong leaders are hard to find," Turner said. "Finding someone who truly understands what leadership means, taking care of your people, if you take care of people, they will be behind you, the organization and the mission."
"We are knee-deep with other members of Area I [Korea] in figuring out how to combine into one garrison north of the Han River," Harris said. "We don't really know perfectly what the future holds for us, but we are making a plan."
The Stalwart Award is about performance and success, but it is also about giving back to the organization and growing new leaders.
"I'm super excited about the Stalwart, it feels good that people notice," Turner said. "When I get back to Fort Belvoir, I want my people to see that they can accomplish the same thing. I want them to strive and work toward the same level of excellence embraced in this award, and I'm going to help them do that. I want them to have the same excitement as me."
"For the young leader, take the initiative," Harris suggested. "Of course learn your job and do your job correctly, but take that added step to do a little more. There's plenty of ways to improve. The Army has been around for a long time, but for me, the goal every day is to try and make things better."
"Ms. Perkins was the first award recipient in 2003," Hartman said. "She is the most senior award winner we have. Just like at the Masters [golf tournament] in Augusta, Georgia, where there are past green-jacket winners there, with the Stalwarts, we want to do something similar. We've had two meetings with her and the other 12, and a working lunch, to discuss how to keep these bright folks involved, so we can benefit from their talent."
"If you are a Stalwart, you are definitely a type 'A' personality," Hartman asserted. "We need to continue to capitalize on that potential and reinforce what they've all done in the past. Recognizing them at the alumni table is the first step."