With 1.12 million acres of installation and training space, a block party for the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bliss workforce would cover a very large block.
Yet, a block party they had during their 2023 Summer Safety Stand Down and Org Day at Biggs Park, at Fort Bliss, Texas, May 12, 2023, hosted by the Garrison Safety office and Bliss garrison command staff.
Employees who cover a wide array of missions in support of the almost 100,000 Soldiers and family members at Bliss gathered at Biggs for a morning of seasonal safety information, which included advice on hiking, water safety, and accident awareness in the workplace.
Following the morning presentations, the grills were lighted and teammates found space in the shade to hang out, or even mix in with fellow Garrison teams and workers.
“It’s about the camaraderie, it’s about the safety training – which we have to do to help keep our team safe,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerardo Gonzalez, the Bliss garrison command sergeant major, “and it’s also about ‘getting out. Different directorates never get to see each other because they’re either stuck out at a range, or they’re in an office doing engineering work, or they’re clearing a tank trail. When we come together we get different perspectives.’”
In a nod to keeping the day loose and festive, experts awaited under canopies across Biggs Park and groups rotated through their stations. Gonzalez said although employees came to Biggs with their immediate teammates, they were purposely split up into seven groups that rotated through all of the stations together.
“You got to go out with a group that you’ve never been with before and learn more about what we do as the garrison,” said Gonzalez. “It’s about getting the staff out and getting them to mingle with other places on the installation.”
In support of the day, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service at Bliss sent a caravan of food trucks to augment the grills and cookout fare.
If the garrison workforce wasn’t eating, they were burning it off on the fields of play with backyard volleyball, water balloon tosses, tug-of-war competitions, and more, all for the vaunted Garrison Cup, which goes to the directorate with the most wins on the field.
Coming up on his own retirement next month, Gonzalez reflected on his career and said although the units he’s been a part of may have looked a bit different than the Bliss garrison workforce, he said every unit org day had the same intention and May 12 was no different.
“Fort Bliss is a monster to tackle and it’s important that we keep [the garrison] running for our Soldiers, families, civilians and retirees – it’s a very tiring job,” said Gonzalez. “We value [our employees]. We can’t do what we do without them.”
For more information on the garrison command at Bliss, the support backbone for Soldiers and families here, visit https://home.army.mil/bliss/index.php/about/Garrison.