One of the Army's smallest family housing areas scored so well on this year's resident survey, the installation earned a national award for service excellence.

Residents of Tobyhanna Pines spoke highly of their government-owned, tree-covered neighborhood when responding to the Army Resident Satisfaction and Opinion Survey. The high-percentage of positive responses earned Tobyhanna Army Depot the CEL National Award Program for Service Excellence, Installation Level Crystal Award.

The survey was conducted at 30 installations consisting of 111 neighborhoods from January-March. It was distributed to 9,957 residents living in Army Family Housing with 2,025 responding.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see how our residents really feel about our housing area," said Housing Manager Stephen Dupak, Installation Services Directorate's Equipment and Supply Branch. "The survey results identified successes and areas in need of improvement."

Tobyhanna Pines consists of 28 houses that are available to active-duty military members and their families. The neighborhood boasts a paved walking trail, picnic area, landscaping, lighted sidewalks, and playgrounds. Residents live within walking distance to depot amenities such as the child development center, commissary and fitness center.

Depot officials have spent the past few years using available funding to update the aging family housing units. New heating and air conditioning systems were installed, bathrooms and kitchens were renovated, roofs and windows were replaced, and light fixtures were switched to LED (light-emitting diode) style, according to Dupak.

Tobyhanna's overwhelming 65 percent response rate exceeded the survey's target of 20 percent.
"I kept reminding people about the survey and how important it is to be truthful," Dupak said. "To affect change, this is a good way to have their voice heard."

Survey officials noted that Army-owned residents rated quality of service and safety as the most important factors when living on the installation. Tenants stated their decision to live in family housing was also influenced by the condition of the home and proximity to the commissary and AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service).

Residents acknowledge there is room for the small community to grow, however, they are happy with the housing area and how it is managed. Several people commended housing officials for keeping the lines of communication open, which helps resolve issues. Looking to the future, a few tenants gave voice to some wishful thinking and suggested an indoor heated pool and two-car garages would be a nice touch, if possible.