CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Army Sgt. Scarlett Mitchell, a military policewoman for Directorate of Emergency Services at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, did not expect to be under the spotlight this year. A dedicated Soldier, she was surprised when she received the Army Commendation Medal for winning the Benelux Soldier and Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Board Oct. 31 on Caserne Daumerie in Chièvres, Belgium.

"I was thankful for the opportunity to develop professionally," Mitchell said. "My goal is to foster a good attitude about participation in order to facilitate resiliency for myself and others."

Before being the Soldier and NCO of the Year, Mitchell was awarded Army Achievement Medals for winning the second quarter board as a Soldier, and the fourth quarter as an NCO. She was promoted to sergeant and became eligible to compete as Soldier and NCO for the year.

According to Mitchell, attending boards represents honoring tradition and a unique cultural aspect of the Army.

"Attendance results in building rapport with my superiors, setting a noteworthy example for others to follow, becoming more self-aware, and learning what my leadership expects from me in terms of character, presence and intellect," she said.

Mitchell also thinks that participation is a good indication of character and shows a willingness to learn, even if the preparation for a board can be stressful.

"A lot of that stress can be mitigated by studying with others," Mitchell said. "Every Soldier uniquely contributes to a study session by sharing their perspective. A lot of reflection is involved in learning new material, but comparing and contrasting the material with others helps to retain it."

Mitchell attended eight boards in her career. According to her, there is no doubt that all the information she received will be useful in the future.

"The perspective gained from the reflection is remarkable," she concluded.