Depot’s robust community engagement strengthens bonds, supports local organizations

By Katie Nolan and Nicolo ManzoJanuary 4, 2024

Community delights in connecting with Army mission
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kids exploring a high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicle displayed by Tobyhanna Army Depot personnel in support of the Outreach Center for Community Resources children's career exploration event in Scranton, Pennsylvania in August 2023. (Photo Credit: Danielle Weinschenk) VIEW ORIGINAL
Exemplary Soldier encourages youth to Be All You Can Be
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Christopher Dougal, awarded Tobyhanna Warfighter of the Quarter in November 2023, discusses the work he does in support of America's Soldiers during a community event for the students of the Cyber program in Pocono Mountain West School District, Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Team Tobyhanna shows out for Taylor parade
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tobyhanna Army Depot employees and their families support Taylor, Pennsylvania's Memorial Day Parade in May 2023. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Army goes rolling along for Scranton tradition
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tobyhanna Army Depot leadership, personnel and their family members support the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Scranton, Pennsylvania in March 2023. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins) VIEW ORIGINAL

TOBYHANNA, Pennsylvania – Honoring warfighters and elevating area youth programs drove Team Tobyhanna through its banner year of community connection in 2023.

More than 50 community events kept personnel from Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) active in supporting local organizations, schools, and community programs - both on-post and in the surrounding region.

At the forefront of Tobyhanna’s community support agenda is recognizing local military heroes for outstanding service and their embodiment of the army values.

In 2023, Team Tobyhanna presented four such individuals with TYAD’s Warfighter of the Quarter (WoQ) award – Sgt. Megan Kennedy, Sgt. First Class Jeremy Dillahunt, Staff Sgt. Christopher Dougal, and Sgt. Cameron Weaver. Presentations took place at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins military and veterans appreciation hockey games, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders military appreciation baseball game, and the Annual Commander’s Holiday Reception.

First awarded in 2010, the Tobyhanna Warfighter of the Quarter Award was established to strengthen the ties between our nation’s warfighters and the Tobyhanna work force, which repairs, maintains and integrates many of the high-tech systems used by U.S. Armed Forces, and their Allies, worldwide.

The award serves as an opportunity for TYAD to honor warfighters for their commitment to service and being good stewards of their community; as well as the chance for depot leadership and personnel to engage with the community partners at local events.

Staff Sgt. Dougal, who was awarded the honor for the 3rd Quarter of 2023, received the distinction during the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Veterans Day game.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as Warfighter of the Quarter,” said Staff Sgt. Dougal. “I appreciate the accolade from my colleagues and will continue to strive to uphold the Core Values of the Army. Be All You Can Be.”

TYAD supported several on-post and regional Memorial Day remembrance ceremonies, Armed Forces week observances and Veterans Day celebrations in keeping with the tradition of prioritizing active-duty military and veteran-centered community events.

Another initiative with close ties to TYAD’s mission of supporting our nation’s warfighters is Wreaths Across America. For more than three decades, volunteers throughout America have held coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies for the final resting place of their veterans, all across the country.

This year, TYAD Commander Col. James L. Crocker, Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Riggs and their families attended the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Resurrection Cemetery in Allentown, PA.

During the ceremony, fallen heroes were remembered by having their names read aloud and wreaths laid at their graves.

John Fitzpatrick is a veteran and has been a member of Team Tobyhanna for nearly two decades. Acting as a private citizen, Fitzpatrick invited TYAD to attend the ceremony.

Fitzpatrick said the presence of members of TYAD’s command team and their families meant a great deal to the attendees, adding it was wonderful to see leadership from his place of work supporting an event in his hometown.

“I was personally thrilled that Col. Crocker, Sgt. Maj. Riggs and their families were able to attend and participate. As active-duty soldiers, their presence added a lot of meaning to the ceremony and Col. Crocker’s remarks resonated with the attendees,” said Fitzpatrick. “A number of them, including veterans, interacted with Col. Crocker and Sgt. Maj. Riggs before and after the ceremony, and later remarked they were glad to see them participate.”

Events for the children are always a highlight for Team Tobyhanna, and 2023 brought numerous requests to support the youth of the community in our region in various ways; from the Outreach Center for Community Resources in Scranton, PA to events in Throop, Carbondale, Jessup, Taylor, Wilkes-Barre, Long Pond and the Pocono Mountains.

The TYAD motor pool dispatched High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles for display in support of many of the year’s events, including Touch-a-Trucks and a variety of children’s career exploration functions across the area. Depot representatives met with hundreds of students from area high schools, technical schools and colleges to showcase the many opportunities and benefits of pursuing a career at TYAD.

Depot Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Riggs supported several community events during this past 2023, which was his first year Team Tobyhanna. He relished the novel opportunity to connect with those who offer continued support to TYAD.

“Supporting and being out in the community has been a new experience for me. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to connect with members of the community and organizations that so steadfastly support Tobyhanna Army Depot and its mission,” said Riggs.

He said fostering TYAD’s connection with the surrounding community is especially important because these are the places many members of Team Tobyhanna call home.

“It’s important to engage because TYAD is made up of employees from those areas. Participating in those events further connects employees to their communities, and in turn their communities to the TYAD mission.”

The year culminated with Tobyhanna Army Depot’s efforts to connect with the community being recognized with the Excellence in Community Involvement Award by the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce during their annual Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence (SAGE) ceremony on Nov 3.

Also during the SAGE awards, Team Tobyhanna was recognized for the milestone achievement of 70 years since opening its doors as Tobyhanna Signal Depot in February 1953.

Public Affairs Officer Melissa Flowers said she is proud of her staff and depot volunteers who supported community events throughout the year.

“The Tobyhanna team did a remarkable job reconnecting with our community partners and reaching out to establish new relationships with community leaders in our region. We look forward to increasing our community connections throughout northeastern Pennsylvania in 2024.”

The Warfighter of the Quarter award and other community relations programs align with Tobyhanna's long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 - specifically the Connecting with the Community line of effort. The goal of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s plan is to strive to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

TYAD is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, postproduction software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.