Department of Defense Civilians were treated to a week of events to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the Fort Jackson community.

The appreciation week started on May 28 and continued to May 31.

Civilian employees play a vital role across all military branches. While Soldiers are constantly deploying and moving duty locations about every three to four years, civilian employees provide vital continuity of installation and department operations during these transient periods and serve as stewards of their specialties to incoming staff and personnel.

"I cannot personally express my gratitude to all of our civilians. Words of appreciation cannot appropriately describe the impact so many of you have made over the years at Fort Jackson," said Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr., Fort Jackson commander. "This celebration is for you and it is my sincere hope that even this small gesture shall now find a way to prove to you how much you are appreciated."

Throughout the week, events were held to show the post's appreciation to the installation's civilian workforce. A tour of Fort Jackson kicked off the four-day work week. Attendees had an opportunity to see behind the scenes at the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) where trainees take their first steps as they transform from citizens to Soldiers. The tour showcased the initial entry process and the Engagement Skills Trainer where trainees sharpen their weapon qualification skills. Another tour was held Thursday morning.

A Health and Wellness fair was held at the Solomon Center where agencies from across Fort Jackson provided information about health resources such as the Army Wellness Center, healthy eating from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Jackson dieticians and personal safety were featured.

Small aerobic classes were held to demonstrate classes available at the installation gyms and a masseur demonstrated how massage can help ease physical tensions and help the body and mind relax in unison.

The week closed out with a luncheon May 31 at Victory Hall in honor of the hard work and dedication of the installation's civilian workforce. Here, guest speaker David Paschal, deputy G-3/7 for training, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spoke to attendees about the vital role civilians play in training more than half of the nation's fighting force at Fort Jackson and how fostering professional relationships contribute to the overall success of the installation's mission.

"None of this would be possible without the great working relationship between our noncommissioned officers, officers and the nearly 2,600 team members who are a part of the Fort Jackson civilian workforce," Paschal said. "We are members of a proud profession, your contributions are immeasurable to our Army's success."

According to the Army Civilian Handbook, Soldiers and civilians have worked alongside each other since as early as 1775 to fulfil Army mission needs, which can include moving forward to remote location alongside their military counterparts during times of war and conflict. Civilians have (and are) deployed to countries such as the Balkans, Bosnia, Hungary, Macedonia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan alongside military units to help support national defense commitments.

During one of the appreciation luncheon speeches, Hellen Keller was quoted "alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much."