CASERMA EDERLE, Italy (October 31, 2018) -- About 100 military and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza joined for a town hall at the post theater where Regional Health Command Europe Commander Brig. Gen. Ronald T. Stephens and Command Sgt. Maj. Todd M. Garner presented the prestigious Army Star Strong Award to Dental Health Activity--Italy.

DENTAC-Italy is the 11th Department of Defense organization to earn recognition as a Star site in Army Europe and the 13th Armywide.

The Army Star Strong Award indicates that units have implemented the Army Safety and Occupational Health Safety Management System, which requires completion of 243 tasks in three stages of progressive assessments in the span of three years. To earn this recognition, all policies and standard operating procedures must be in written form, policies and procedures must fit unit daily activities, and all employees must understand the policies and procedures in order to create a safe environment. After completing these tasks, members of Medical Command Safety Office and members of Department of Defense Safety Management Center of Excellence confirm the unit's safety management system is at the highest standard.

Several health clinic employees also received medals and recognition certificates during the event.

Lt. Col. Kevyn R. Wetzel, commander, DENTAC-Italy, was proud of the team, attributing the success to everyone in the Vicenza dental clinic.

"I want you to know that each one of you has played a crucial role in this achievement," he said.

Lt. Col. Craig Freccero, Maj. Matthew Hillis and Staff Sgt. Davidallan Doan, all from the dental clinic, joined Stephens and Garner on stage to receive the award. Afterwards, the entire DENTAC team was called on stage so they could be honored, too.

"There's a lot of work to be done in a variety of directions," said Stephens, as he addressed the group. "Army medicine happens in the clinics, in the dental chairs, in the operating room, in the Emergency Room, right on the ground where you are working."

He called on everyone to always strive to do better, to be responsible and to be in charge of their own actions.

"Take your eyes off your cell phone sometimes, or you might miss somebody you could help or something you could do to make a difference."

Stephens added that it is important that senior leaders establish trust in their subordinates, and that is critical when trying to accomplish the mission and take care of people.

In his address to the group, Garner talked about the importance of maximizing efficiency.

"We can't control CPAC (civilian personnel advisory center) or OPM (Office of Personnel Management), but we can control what we are doing," Stephens emphasized as he called for higher productivity by doing things at one's best, to include planning training activities during downtime.

The General added, "You always have the opportunity to impact people. You maintain your professionalism by treating people with kindness and compassion. It's not your right to make somebody else have a bad day just because you are having a bad day."

The DENTAC here plans to take their meaningful awards and continue to be among the best for readiness, patient care and safety.