Taking in the trash
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left, Sgt. John Seely, military police Soldier, and Jasmin Elder, recreational specialist, gather litter in bags at the post exchange parking lot as part of Area Beautification Day April 29, 2022, at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. Communities across U.S. Army Garrison Benelux took part in improving their communities, including at Chièvres Air Base and USAG Benelux-Brussels in Belgium and USAG Benelux-Brunssum, the Netherlands. (U.S. Army photo by Christophe Morel, USAG Benelux Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Christophe Morel) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tidying up
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Dirk Leemans, a plumber with the Directorate of Public Works, loads a wedge of concrete onto a forklifted pallet during Area Beautification Day April 29, 2022 at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux - Brussels. Communities across U.S. Army Garrison Benelux took part in improving their communities, including at Chièvres Air Base and USAG Benelux-Brussels in Belgium and USAG Benelux-Brunssum, the Netherlands. (U.S. Army photo by Bryan Gatchell, USAG Benelux Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Bryan Gatchell) VIEW ORIGINAL
Brush with greatness
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Salih Sumer, an information and referral and program assistant at Army Community Services, paints a pillar as part of Area Beautification Day April 29, 2022 at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux - Brussels. Communities across U.S. Army Garrison Benelux took part in improving their communities, including at Chièvres Air Base and USAG Benelux-Brussels in Belgium and USAG Benelux-Brunssum, the Netherlands. (U.S. Army photo by Bryan Gatchell, USAG Benelux Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Bryan Gatchell) VIEW ORIGINAL

USAG BENELUX-BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – Community members across U.S. Army Garrison Benelux gathered to tidy up their on-post environments as part of area beautification April 29, 2022.

The morning was dedicated to personal workspaces, when employees could use their time to clean out storage closets, remove old furniture, design a more welcoming front door, change office signage, or update command boards.

After lunch, the community as a whole was invited to participate in installation-wide clean-up and improvements.

The Directorate of Public Works brought the supplies, and volunteers came to participate. Community members joined the activities with lawnmowers, power washers, paint brushes, garbage bags, and more while contributing to the effort of beautification. At USAG Benelux-Brunssum, a volunteer offered to plant tulips and other plants around the post to add visual appeal.

Simply collecting and disposing of stray trash can add to the enjoyment of an installation.

“With the heavy winds, everything blows away and gets stuck in the fence,” said Stephanus Odekerken, Facility Manager, USAG Benelux – Brunssum Directorate of Public Works (DPW), referring to the SORT Center behind the headquarters building.

Area beautification expands beyond one day. The concept is for beautification to be a monthly effort in which all units and organizations conduct clean-up activities in designated areas of their offices, buildings and work and parking areas. The end state, according to the operation order, is to improve the area through “aesthetically pleasing outdoor areas and workspaces that are more comfortable.”

“This has been a new initiative,” said Stacy Perez, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

She explained that the beautification idea began only one and a half years ago. Improvements that have already begun or are complete across the garrison include moving buildings, road works, painting the fitness center, and renovating interior spaces such as the post office and shoppette. Outside, flowers enhance curb-appeal and benches, and basketball courts allow for community members to relax, play a game, and enjoy the sun.

“I’ve seen the entire Benelux transform,” she said. “We are looking to the future, that what we do today can impact Soldiers and Families five to 10 years from now.”

Perez highlighted the Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) form online where community members can submit their ideas and input about additions and improvements on their installations. The goal is to be a community of choice—that people “want to be here … and want to live here.”

“It takes times to secure plans and resources,” she said.