By Keith PannellU.S. Arm Garrison Rheinland-PfalzKAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The awards in the offices of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation proves the staff strives for excellence in everything they do.But, achieving excellence when many employees are on administrative leave and a good portion of the services are curtailed or stopped amid the COVID-19 restrictions might seem out of reach to many. Not so for the dedicated DFMWR staff.“I'm very proud of the hard work and accomplishments from our DFMWR professionals during this COVID-19 pandemic. They quickly developed innovative virtual programs to keep customers engaged,” said Gary Burton, DFMWR director. “And, all during this time, our team consistently focused on being the best and doing the right things for Soldiers, civilians and their families.”With many phased and partial reopenings over the last few weeks, getting back to normal operations is the main goal for the organization, and Burton said the staff are excited to hit the ground running.Among the highly anticipated reopenings are the Child Development Centers and School Age Centers, scheduled to resume operations June 15, albeit in a limited capacity to start.“Unfortunately we won’t be able to bring all of our children back at this time,” said Garrison Commander Col. Jason Edwards, explaining that in close coordination with local Public Health offices and following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the latest Child and Youth Services guidance, the garrison is able to resume full-day child care for a limited number of enrolled families from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.“Maintaining learning environments that are sanitary and safe for all children, staff and families is our highest priority,” he added, "and in keeping with current COVID-19 preventative measures regarding maximum group size and social distancing, the number of child care slots at this time is limited. Filling the available spaces will be based on the DoD priority system for child care, so not all currently enrolled families will have a space during the first phase of the reopening."“Families who are not offered a space at this time will still remain enrolled in our program and will not be required to pay to hold a slot for their child,” said Jason Etchell, child and youth services coordinator. “Our staff work very hard to build strong relationships with those in our care and have remained committed to staying connected with families while our services have been suspended. While this has been very rewarding, we are very excited to get back to our centers and interact with children and families again.”Over at Outdoor Recreation, program specialist Jay Proctor has been making videos throughout the pandemic to highlight some of the travel opportunities that will soon become available again.“I’ve been trying to wrap my head around a constantly changing schedule,” Proctor said. “We’re excited to have our doors open and we know business will pick up as we get into summer.”Proctor said the Outdoor Recreation rentals are “back in action,” and trips are expected to resume July 1, so he’s combing through the calendar to see what can be saved.“I’ve taken what could be salvaged from the existing calendar, removed the things we know for sure we will not be doing, and added a bunch of Germany-only trips just in case, because the restrictions are changing quickly,” he said.As their services return, DFMWR is riding a large wave of momentum. In the past two weeks, the organization has been named a 2020 National Recreation and Park Association National Gold Medal Finalist for the second year in a row. In addition, the two finalists for the Army Child and Youth Services 2020 Boys and Girls Club of America Military Youth of the Year-Europe were USAG RP representatives Marianna Sanchez from Kaiserslautern and Seth Kindberg from Baumholder, with Sanchez taking top honors. And, Landstuhl librarian Gabrielle Davis was named the Library of Congress Library Technician of the Year for the federal library category.“Our latest honors recognize excellence in three areas; our Community Recreation Division, CYS Teen Centers and our libraries,” said Burton. “Our ongoing 'Commitment to Excellence Program,' where each team member learns what excellence looks like and rates their facility on their delivery of excellence is a key contributor to our success.”(For a complete list of FMWR and other garrison facility/program reopenings, please check the garrison website at: