(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood garrison leaders hosted a town hall for garrison employees Wednesday at Lincoln Hall Auditorium 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 recognizing employee excellence.

The following individuals received two-star notes for various acts of excellence: Salvador Avila and Christopher Blakely, Directorate of Emergency Services; Cherl Miller, Directorate of Human Resources; Wendy Shickles, Army and Air Force Exchange Service; Debra Hendrix, Justin Hill, Angela Pollack and Mark Stretch, Logistics Readiness Center; and Lisa Hilton, Defense Commissary Agency.

The following individuals received length-of-service awards: Buddy Glover, Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department, in recognition of 35 years of service; Don Rose, DES, and Felesia Herron-Bryant, DHR, in recognition of 40 years of service; Johnny Jackiewicz and Rodney Chang, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, in recognition of 45 years of service; and Dennis Freeman, DPTMS, in recognition of 50 years of service.

Paine took time to thank everyone for their flexibility in attesting to vaccination status per Department of Defense directive, via DD Form 3175.

“The bottom line is that a 3175 is required for all of our civilian employees,” he said. “That’s how we know who is vaccinated and who is not, and that is so we can make sure we comply with the executive orders to keep everybody safe.”

Whether or not someone is vaccinated, however, Paine said the most important thing is that “we’re treating each other with kindness.”

“I chose the word kindness for a deliberate and specific reason,” he said. “There are a lot of emotions … but this is not an emotional issue when it comes to what we have to do as a workforce and what our leadership has asked us to do.”

While Paine encouraged everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, he said guidance on the consequences for federal employees who choose not to get vaccinated is forthcoming.

“As soon as we know, we’ll get that information out, and we will get out how we will implement it at the garrison level,” he said.

Safety Office

Anthony Riley from the Garrison Safety Office spoke about a few of the common safety concerns during the holidays, including drunk drivers, distracted driving and deep-frying turkeys.

“Risk is associated with everything we do,” he said. “Have a plan. Be attentive when you’re driving. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. We need everyone to succeed.”

Riley said texting and driving is dangerous.

“Don’t text and drive,” he said. “It’s visual, manual and cognitive distraction.”

When deep frying a turkey, Riley said to always first make sure the turkey is fully thawed before putting it in the fryer. Also, fryers should never be used on a wood deck. They should be placed on a level surface, at least 10 feet from any home or other structure.

Workforce Development

Vince Carlton, Work Force Development specialist, highlighted a couple of upcoming courses. The next Supervisor Leadership Course is scheduled for Feb. 7 to 11, and the next New Employee Onboarding Course is set for March 7 to 10. Carlton said more information on these courses and more can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood Civilian Workforce Connection website at https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/cwc. Call Carlton at 573.563.4005, or email vincent.d.carlton.civ@army.mil.

Employee Assistance Program

Guy Caley, Employee Assistance Program coordinator, spoke about holiday stress. He asked that employees should periodically check on peers and subordinates, and remember to use the Ask, Care, Escort training everyone receives.

When someone needs help:

Ask battle buddies and family members if they are thinking about harming themselves. Asking won’t increase the likelihood they will commit suicide or place the idea in their head.

Care for battle buddies and family members by listening and reassuring them that immediate help is available. Calmly talk to them and use words like, “Let me make sure I understand you, do you mean…” and remove any means they might use to harm themselves.

Escort battle buddies and family member to get help. This can be an emergency room, a primary care provider or a behavioral health professional. If they refuse to go, do not leave them alone. Call 9-1-1 if necessary.

“Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they’re doing,” Caley said. “And reach out if you need help. We have many resources on Fort Leonard Wood. The Employee Assistance Program is there for you.”

Call Caley at 573.596.7199, or email guy.r.caley.civ@army.mil.

Additional information

Paine opened the town hall to employee questions, and one was asked about whether or not office holiday parties are authorized this year. Paine said yes, offices can have parties, but they have to be sensitive to the requirements, including that no more than 50 people can gather in one indoor space in a federal facility, and that masks must be worn outdoors if proper social distancing cannot be maintained.

Before concluding the town hall, Paine mentioned his command climate survey email that was sent out within the past week. He asked everyone who has not yet completed it to please consider making their voices heard, anonymously, if they’d like.

“We want to hear from you,” he said.

The next employee town hall is scheduled for Feb. 15.