Col. Kimberly A. Peeples, commander of Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall, gave her first speech at her first quarterly awards ceremony April 26. In her speech, Peeples congratulated award recipients for their commitment to providing the joint base with the best service they could and encouraged them to continue in the mission.

The second quarter honor awards ceremony was held at Spates Community Center on the Fort Myer side of the joint base. Honorees were recognized for their work ethic and their overall commitment to excellence while working on the installation.

Before paying respects to the honorees, Peeples apologized for being absent over the last couple of weeks, due to travel, saying that now was the first time she was officially getting a chance to meet some of the civilian workforce on the base in person.

"So I'm back and here," she said. "I'm very, very honored to be here; to be the commander of this base, America's post, this joint base, which sets the standard for every other installation in the inventory for Installation Management Command."

Peeples called the award ceremony "terrific."

"We get a chance today to say thank you to a large number of employees who have served in a combined arms team," Peeples said. As I am signing the awards and reading through the accomplishments, in just a quarter, I am just amazed by what has happened and what you have accomplished. It's just phenomenal."

During her speech, Peeples spoke in terms of "we," signifying that though individuals were being recognized for their contributions, their work benefited everybody on the base.

"On a day-to-day basis, what you do (and) what we do at this installation almost everything could be recognized because we just do the routine," she said. "Nothing's routine at the installation, right?"

Peeples said the lack of routine is installation life and encouraged the attendees to be flexible in their work and "to do the best we can."

"They've asked a lot of us," she said. "And every single day you're doing it. We're taking the resources and doing miracles with them. You're helping. You're serving heroes, you're serving every customer that comes onto this installation. When they leave, they leave better."

The goal of customer service, Peeples said, is for the customer to have a valuable experience.

"Every single person that has an interaction with Joint Base Henderson Hall or Fort McNair is happy when they leave or satisfied," she said. "You know we're not going to make everyone happy or satisfied, satisfied that they've been treated with dignity and respect. That is really what I'm asking."

Peeples then switched to talking about her overall philosophy and approach to helping the joint base thrive. She wants the employees of the joint base to call themselves a team--a unified one. Peeples told the crowd that we need each other.

"There's not an incident that happens that only one section handles," said Peeples. "It's every single thing that we do touches each other."

Peeples rounded off her speech by asking everyone, herself included, to learn from each other.

"We're going to learn from each other," she said. "Let's give everything that we do our best effort. Let's continue to be customer focus when things are rough. Find somebody. If you're having a hard time with a customer, take a break. Go in the back room for minute, get yourself recomposed, have somebody help you out. This is about being professional at all times and helping each other out, lending a hand and being there for one another."

Peeples thanked the civilian workforce for their contributions, saying that she was "in awe" of what they do. Peeples said she has talked to people and about the base. She said she had met with spouses who lived in the joint base family housing. She said they had nothing but positive things to say about the maintenance team.

"I have so many positive comments about their time here, how beautiful it is, and what great work the maintenance team (does)," she said. "It was just over and over and over what great work (you do), (that) we're responsive, (and that) we're professional. That's awesome. That's the standard."

However, Peeples did mention that there are some things on the margins that they would need to get better at.

"We are America's post," Peeples said. "We set the standard in IMCOM. You're doing it today. We're recognizing the excellence today and let's just continue to do that."

Pentagram Staff Writer Delonte Harrod can be reached at dharrod@dcmilitary.com.