FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. — Six individuals from the surrounding communities received the installation’s Good Neighbor Award, which annually recognizes and honors civilian and business professionals for their exceptional contributions and for their positive impact supporting America’s military.
It also honors those who enhance the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families or otherwise support Fort Gregg-Adams missions through their individual efforts.
This year’s inductees include Nicholas Balducci, Carlton Branch, John Brandt, Cindy Clark, Kerry Grey and Becky McDonough.
“We look at nominations for individuals who really distinguish themselves by their partnership with this installation -- and there’s so many of them out there," said Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee. “We want not only to recognize them by their induction to the Good Neighbor Program, but also to continue to strengthen those bonds to make it routine.”
The awards were presented Thursday at the Civilian Military Council, an event which takes place quarterly for the purpose of bringing together military leaders and local public officials and community leaders.
While each municipality takes turns hosting the CMC, this meeting took place on Fort Gregg-Adams and featured a meal at the Samuel Sharpe Warrior Restaurant as well as a tour of the nearby Ordnance School.
The new Good Neighbors will join the inductees from previous years as invitees to many Fort Gregg-Adams events, Simerly said.
“(They are) fantastic leaders, fantastic members of our community that really excelled to build this great environment we have,” he added.
Learn more about the Good Neighbor Program under the community relations tab here: https://home.army.mil/greggadams/pao
Balducci, the JEJ Moore Middle School assistant principal, was crucial in re-establishing the relationship with 508th Transportation Training Detachment and the school after the COVID pandemic. He helped create engagement opportunities for transportation Soldiers to speak with the student population to improve civilian and military relationships at the school. Balducci’s role in re-establishing the sponsorship between JEJ Moore Middle School and 508th TTD will strengthen the U.S. military for years to come.
Branch often dedicates more than 200 hours a month in support of military and family members. For the past 19 years, he has worked with the Holiday Helper program, starting while still an active-duty command sergeant major. After he retired, Branch continued to be involved, becoming the vice president when Holiday Helper was stood up as a non-profit in 2010. Subsequently, he became the president in 2022. Thanks to his support and oversight, annually more than 1,200 children receive free toys during the holiday season and 800 children receive free school supplies and backpacks. Additionally, 400 service members unable to return home for the holiday season receive holiday gift bags from their commander, over 500 military families receive assistance with their holiday meal and 100-plus bikes are collected and given to unit commanders for distribution to service members.
Brandt, executive director of the Southern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, has partnered with the USO and adopting Service Members for Thanksgiving to give back and to show support. He worked to find sponsorship to offer free bowling to military kids weekly. Over the years, he has partnered with BOSS, FMWR, USO and Holiday Helper at Fort Lee/Gregg-Adams to support servicemembers. He is involved in various ways to include the Civilian Military Council, Community Leader Information Forum and Sentenal Landscape. He also brings community leaders to tour the installation to educate neighbors about life at Gregg-Adams and the Army.
In 2012 the Hopewell Prince George Chamber of Commerce staff decided to hold a toy drive for Soldiers as part of the Holiday Helper Association, inviting Chamber members to participate. Clark was the first volunteer. That year, the organization collected 900 toys. For several years, the Chamber continued to promote the drive, collect toys and deliver them to Fort Lee. The project grew, for Clark becoming a year-round mission, so Chamber leaders turned the project over to her. Now, she collects donations year-round and encourages her customers, other organizations and friends to donate.
Grey recognized the importance of building a relationship between Bravo Company and Hopewell High School. He secured a space for the company at football games where they could set up their equipment and help in the concession stands. Grey also understood that many students at the school faced uncertain futures and saw the need for a military presence to provide guidance and support. He worked with Bravo Company to initiate conversations with the school’s principal about starting a mentorship program, which ultimately led to the Bulldogs Building Bonds program. Grey also is currently collaborating with the principal to identify students who would benefit from additional mentorship.
McDonough has hired military spouses, provided internships to military spouses and organized tours for students to expose them to the Ordnance welding trade and other military career paths. She has garnered local financial support for the opening of the USO on base and helped maintain ongoing donations and support. She conducts focus groups to learn about community needs, welcomes and provides support to military parents for graduation ceremonies and aides in bringing support to FMWR through community golf tournaments and dinners at the Gregg-Adams club. McDonough also supports by taking part in the Civilian Military Council and Community Leader Information Forum meetings to encourage partnerships and communication, aides in finding volunteer opportunities for service members and assists Fort Gregg-Adams international students with various means of community support. McDonough also has had a huge impact on the Holiday Helper Program, encouraging and inspiring community businesses to get involved and holding toy drives that have produced large donations in support of 1,200 military children. Further, McDonough works continuously with the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army to help fill the needs of the local military community.