Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, speaks during a town hall for garrison employees Aug. 11 at the Main Post Chapel and broadcast via MS Teams.
Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, speaks during a town hall for garrison employees Aug. 11 at the Main Post Chapel and broadcast via MS Teams. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood garrison leaders hosted a town hall for garrison employees Aug. 11 at the Main Post Chapel and broadcast via MS Teams.

Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, welcomed the virtual and in-person attendees, and kicked off the town hall by highlighting employees for their excellence and length of service.

The following individuals received Two-Star notes: Shawn Steen, Shin-Ae Young and Malia Nemetz, from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Army Community Service; Dawn Arden and Ryan Thompson, from the Public Affairs Office; Stephen White, from the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; Ace Harden, from the Directorate of Human Resources; and Maj. Donovan Herron, from the garrison headquarters.

The following individuals received length-of-service awards: Amanda Krause, Noah Stevens and Pamela Tyler, from the Directorate of Human Resources, in recognition of 40 years of service; and Charlie Neel, from the Directorate of Public Works, and Alvin Ragland, from the Directorate of Human Resources, in recognition of 35 years of service.

Paine also recognized the most recent graduates from the Junior Executive Development Initiative, or JEDI, program, including: Devin Adkins, from DPTMS; Chad Blachowski, from the Air Force; Barbara Caldwell, from DFMWR; Carl Grandberry, from Company C, 31st Engineer Battalion; Jennifer Langley, from DHR; Francisco Murrieta, from DPTMS; Rudolph Richard, from the Directorate of Resource Management; Betty Rush, from the 1st Engineer Brigade; Kirsten Teague, from the Logistics Readiness Center; and Gary Woodruff, from the Equal Employment Office.

Calling JEDI a “fantastic program,” Paine said it is, “developing the senior leaders of the future.”

“We can’t afford not to invest in our folks, who are going to be the next leaders,” he said.

During the town hall, Paine also took the opportunity to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it “a moving target we’ve had to adapt to.”

He encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, adding that beds in intensive care units across the region are difficult to come by, and that unvaccinated individuals tend to have more severe, life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms.

Paine said 90 percent of people who experience what are called breakthrough cases — when a vaccinated person contracts COVID-19 — have minimal symptoms.

He asked that everyone continue to follow Fort Leonard Wood mask policies.

“We want everybody to be healthy,” he said. “It’s not about you, it’s about us, as an organization, staying healthy. We have to come together as a team on this.”

Paine said telework is an option for those who are able to do their jobs from home.

“Directors will consider each request on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

John Lackey, from the Garrison Safety Office, spoke to employees about a few top summer safety concerns, including extreme heat.

He mentioned a vehicle display his office has set up at the Main Exchange during the duty day and at the Child Development Center during the morning and evening commute times. The vehicle has thermometers inside and outside the vehicle to remind people about the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended in vehicles — it was 93 degrees Fahrenheit outside the vehicle, and 145 degrees Fahrenheit inside on Aug. 10, he added.

Lackey also said wading pools should be no more than six feet in diameter with no more than 12 inches of water.

“It only takes two inches of water for someone to drown,” he said.

He also asked that motorcyclists remember to always wear proper personal protective equipment, on and off post.

In line with the safety messages, Paine spoke on the importance of communicating and reducing stress during these “tough times.”

He said it’s important to “make yourself a priority,” which includes a healthy diet, exercise and getting enough sleep.

“I am 100 percent confident we’re going to get through this,” Paine said.

Also advertised during the town hall were some upcoming training opportunities, including:

  • Applications are being accepted through Aug. 27 for the next JEDI program;
  • The New Employee Onboarding Course is scheduled for Sept. 13 to 16;
  • The Supervisor Leadership Course is scheduled for Nov. 1 to 5; and
  • Civilian Education System courses continue to be available both virtually and in person.

For more information on any of the listed courses, call Vince Carlton at 573.563.4005, or email vincent.d.carlton.civ@mail.mil.

The next employee town hall is scheduled for Nov. 9.