FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – To recognize Morale, Welfare, and Recreation employees’ contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, MWR leaders found a creative and fun way to show appreciation.Led by Stacye Downing, director the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the leaders surprised employees with an appreciation rap, a thank you banner, certificates of appreciation and cookies from Cole Park Eatery.“I created the rap because I didn’t want to just walk in and have it be anything ordinary,” Downing said. “We also added the banner because we wanted them to have something that showed that they are appreciated.”The team embraced the rap idea wholeheartedly and rehearsed it many times to make sure the presentation was perfect.Downing recognizes MWR workers have faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic while also continuing to provide services to Soldiers and Families.“We’ve had to modify our services because of the pandemic and it challenged people in ways they haven’t been challenged before,” she said. “Workers have had to think creatively, get innovative and use different methods of service delivery.”About once a week or so, Downing and MWR leaders go on what they call “appreciation tours” during which they visit various Fort Campbell MWR locations and perform their appreciation rap for surprised employees.During the July 31 morning tour, the group visited the Army Community Service Family Resource Center, which has about 50 employees including Harold Owens, a system navigator for the Exceptional Family Member Program.“I work with individuals and Families and I find resources for them in the community so they can get help with issues they may be having,” Owens said.He has worked for ACS for about 10 years and said he has never experienced the kind of challenges brought about by COVID-19.“We are not able to do home visits, which has impacted us big time,” Owens said. “It has also impacted our ability to do outreach in some instances especially with the units to explain what ACS provides.”Feeling more isolated because of social distancing and having to get creative with how he does his job, Owens was thankful for the surprise provided by the MWR leaders.“Anything that provides a morale boost is always good especially now because we’ve had to make a lot of the adjustments to the way we work so it feels good to get some appreciation coming our way,” he said.Owens’ coworker, Erika Williams also was grateful.“I thought it was very nice and inventive,” Williams said. “One thing about Ms. Downing is that she likes to make sure that her employees know that they are appreciated.”As an ACS outreach program coordinator, Williams has had to greatly alter the way she approaches the duties of her job.Normally she goes out into the community and provides briefings to units and other agencies about the services provided by ACS, but with COVID-19 precautionary measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus Williams has not physically gone into the community since the restrictions were established.“My job was at a standstill, but now a lot of our briefings are done online,” she said. “We do have some in-person events but they are harder because we typically brief several people at once and it’s hard to socially distance.”Although the current environment has proven challenging, it remains important for all ACS employees to continue to serve Soldiers and Families, especially during these stressful times.There still are Families who need help through ACS-Family Advocacy Program and William Corlew, ACS-FAP victim advocate, is offering that assistance remotely, which has not been easy. He ensures the safety of Families going through stressful times and dealing with possible domestic violence.“We typically work with our clients in person and we actually go around post with them to help them find resources,” Corlew said. “Now with the pandemic on board we have to communicate with our clients mostly on the telephone.”Like his colleagues, Corlew also appreciated the surprise visit.“It’s good to know that the MWR director and leadership are there to support us, and it also shows the extent they will go to make sure that we are healthy ourselves,” he said.After the ACS stop, the MWR leaders resumed their tours in the afternoon at the Artillery Grille.Crystal Jackson, Artillery Grille cook, said the visit was a much-needed morale boost.“A lot of employees definitely needed that,” Jackson said. “We need reassurance and to know we are appreciated and supported.”With more than 900 employees across Fort Campbell, Downing and MWR leaders have made it a point to visit every facility and agency to ensure all employees know they are appreciated.“I love my team and I just have to make sure they feel it and that they’re appreciated,” she said.