By Emily Athens, USAG SchweinfurtJuly 15, 2009
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- One of the programs aimed at maintaining Soldier readiness is the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), an Armywide program to reinforce Soldiers' physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The guidance of the alcohol and drug control officer (ADCO) on each installation encourages program momentum and fosters success. From Army garrisons worldwide, one such ADCO stands out.
Geraldine "Gerry" Warner, with the U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt, was recognized by the Department of the Army as the ADCO of the year during an annual ceremony at the Texas Behavioral Health Institute in Austin, Texas, July 6.
"I'm honored to accept the award, but I accept it on behalf of my team because they are really out there accomplishing the goals that we've set forth through the years," Warner said.
To be considered for the award, an individual must be nominated and fulfill various eligibility requirements. Nominations then work their way up the chain of command to the Department of the Army, explained Warner, adding that she would not have been recognized without command support.
Warner joined the Schweinfurt ASAP in 2002 as the clinical director. After five years, she assumed her current position where she manages and monitors the program, which entails taking care of budgets, evaluating prevention and training, and setting and implementing program goals.
"ASAP is all about prevention, intervention, deterrence, and treatment. We're here to educate about how substances can physically have an impact on individuals. We're trying to be innovative about getting the message out about health and wellness. And I'm approachable if they have a problem and don't know how to get through the barriers," she said.
Three prominent objectives of the ASAP program stand out and deserve more focus, according to Warner.
"One goal is to break the stigma, and that's a tough goal until society can look at alcoholism as a brain disease instead of a moral issue. Another goal is to reduce the health problems that are caused from overindulgence and reduce the number of legal problems. And then the ultimate goal is readiness. We want to give the commanders Soldiers that are ready to go," she said.
Having been a military spouse of 30 years, Warner realizes the sacrifices Soldiers make and stays committed to their health, putting them on the top of her priority list. In addition, she acknowledges the hardships families beside those Soldiers may face.
"Serving Soldiers is my number one priority. I'm dedicated to the military. My love for my country, my love for the Soldier, and also the families and the sacrifices they make ... I want to set them all up for success," she said.
Being recognized as the Army ADCO of the year demonstrates that her proactive contributions to ASAP have not gone unnoticed.
"Ms. Warner is dedicated to the Soldiers, family members, and civilians of USAG Schweinfurt. She is constantly on the alert for options to enhance well-being and to promote an environment that encourages prevention of drug and alcohol problems. She is outstanding in her management of the ASAP program and the community is richer for her being a part of our community," said Dr. Catherine Manos, USAG Schweinfurt ASAP prevention coordinator.