Soldier recognized for BOSS program stewardship

By Spc. Hunter Grice, 24th Theater Public Affairs Support ElementJuly 7, 2024

Fort Bliss NCO wins Army-level BOSS award; reflects on her tenure leading program
U.S. Army Cpl. Reschelle Deschenes, the Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers President, was named the 2024 U.S. Army BOSS President of the Year at the annual BOSS Training Fourm, held June 10-17, 2024, in Leesburg, Va.

Deschenes, a native of Chipley, Fla., enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Apache helicopter mechanic. She was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas in July 2019 and assigned with the 501st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division. She grew a passion for the BOSS program and strived to make it better for Fort Bliss Soldiers. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Hunter Grice)

FORT BLISS, Texas — The home of America’s Tank Division can now claim to have one of the U.S. Army’s best Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers programs.

This accolade is no small feat, and it’s in large part to the work of one dedicated Fort Bliss junior noncommissioned officer who also received individual recognition to help the installation’s BOSS program become top tier.

U.S. Army Cpl. Reschelle Deschenes was named the 2024 U.S. Army BOSS President of the Year. Deschenes was presented the top honor during the annual BOSS Training Fourm held in Leesburg, Va., June 10-17, 2024.

During the forum, the Fort Bliss BOSS program also took home additional honors including: U.S. Army Forces Command Best Extra Large BOSS Program of the Year, FORSCOM Best Senior Military Advisor for an Extra Large Installation and the gold President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Additionally, White Sands Missile Range won for FORSCOM Best BOSS President and program for a small installation in part to guidance from Deschenes guiding in establishing their own BOSS program.

For Deschenes, a native of Chipley, Florida, this was validation for 18 months of hard work to make the Fort Bliss BOSS program a first-class organization and dispel the notion that Fort Bliss is an isolated military installation.

For new Soldiers arriving to Fort Bliss, a sense of worry and doubt is common regarding local amenities and overall quality of life for the U.S. Army installation located in El Paso and in the sprawling Chihuahua Desert.

During her time, Deschenes has infused Fort Bliss with an array of engaging activities for BOSS members to take part in. From western hat making to winery tours and even kayaking on the Rio Grande. Her efforts have significantly increased the quality of life for single Soldiers, fostering a sense of community and enjoyment.

“I believe that BOSS is a benefit to all Soldiers, and not just BOSS Soldiers, but to the Fort Bliss installation as a whole, as well as El Paso,” said Deschenes. “The Soldiers create connections and bonds, and they feel included, they're happier. They're enjoying life more, and they have purpose.”

Her passion for the BOSS program and her journey to this considerable achievement began nearly five years ago.

Deschenes, an Apache helicopter mechanic assigned with the 501st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, arrived at Fort Bliss in July 2019.

National Conference Center hosts annual BOSS training forum
From left, Staff Sgt. Cody Mackall, Department of the Army BOSS Representative, G9 Sgt. Maj. Sharita Onugha, and IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Copeland honor Cpl. Reschelle Deschenes of Fort Bliss as the BOSS President of the Year. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Stephen Warns) VIEW ORIGINAL

Being her first duty station, Deschenes didn't know the installation or the surrounding area. She retreated to her barracks room after work, a habit she sustained for three months. Then one day she left her room and attended her first BOSS event, a BOSS Bash. Instantly, she was sold on the BOSS program.

“Everyone was having fun, having drinks and eating food. There were a lot of activities and games, music and prizes,” said Deschenes. “I stayed for the entire day. I hung out, I met people, I read my book. It was so much fun to get out there and do something because I was tired of being stuck in my barracks. The impression it left on me was unforgettable.”

After the BOSS Bash, Deschenes returned to her company with a newfound passion to serve as her company’s BOSS representative, a move that was strongly supported by her chain of command.

From then on, she actively attended meetings and activities, curated the BOSS board for her unit and ensured her fellow Soldiers were informed about upcoming BOSS events.

She saw her opportunity to get more involved in the program when she was made aware for an active search for its next president. Deschenes wanted to apply but felt a commitment to her unit and her fellow Soldiers.

“During one of the BOSS meetings, they posted that they were hiring for the next president. I was really focused on work at that time being a mechanic and working with people I've worked with for years,” said Deschenes. “I was a little hesitant on leaving my unit and that family I had, but my first sergeant told me that this was a great opportunity, and I would be really, really good at it, and he encouraged me to apply.”

During the BOSS president interviews held in November 2022, she presented the idea to create a guided tour of Fort Bliss for new Soldiers in-processing at the vast U.S. Army post.

Deschenes based the concept from her own experiences where she felt unfamiliar and isolated from Fort Bliss’ state of the art amenities.

This concept, dubbed the Tour de Bliss, aimed to help new Soldiers get familiar with all available resources and programs Fort Bliss had to offer. The pitch impressed the panel and solidified her position as the next BOSS President.

Throughout her tenure, Deschenes increased the number of BOSS events to 20 per month, including her weekly Tour de Bliss.

Her emphasis on active communication allowed her to grow her BOSS team and bolstered the program's social media presence, resulting in a 200% rise in event participation.

Increased events and participation led to more funding for activities such as scuba diving, pool parties and camping in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The BOSS program's efforts made the slogan “It’s Better At Bliss” more than just a catchphrase.

When asked about her favorite BOSS event that she organized, she cites the BOSS Prom held in March 2024. The event allowed many Soldiers who had their high school prom cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic the chance to experience a major life moment.

“We did a 1920’s Great Gatsby theme prom. We had a champagne fountain, pictures, a DJ, a dance floor, karaoke, prizes and hors d'oeuvres,” said Deschenes. “There was so much there and we had so many people come. The best part of the event was just the dancing and everyone having a good time.”

Fort Bliss NCO wins Army-level BOSS award; reflects on her tenure leading program
U.S. Army Cpl. Reschelle Deschenes takes a portrait outside of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers office located at the Soldier Activity Center on Fort Bliss, Texas, June 27, 2024.

Deschenes was named the 2024 U.S. Army BOSS President of the Year at the annual BOSS Training Fourm, held June 10-17, 2024, in Leesburg, Va. The Chipley, Fla. native enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Apache helicopter mechanic and assigned to the 501st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division. She has served as the Fort Bliss BOSS President since November 2022 where she has helped elevate the program to be one of the Army's best for Fort Bliss' single Soldiers. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Hunter Grice)

While Deschenes has experienced plenty of fun during her time with BOSS, she has also encountered her share of challenges especially when it comes to a healthy work-life balance, military planning and the operational process.

“I didn't know how to write an operations order, or how to draft my own standard operating procedures,” said Deschenes. “That was something expected of me to know as the BOSS President, so I just pulled up the regulation and taught myself how to write it.”

When it comes to her leadership and transformation of the BOSS program over the last year and a half, Deschenes’ impact is undeniable.

“The success of the Fort Bliss BOSS program is a direct reflection of Cpl. Deschenes passion for ensuring Soldiers have an outlet from their daily work stressors,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Sweeney, Fort Bliss garrison command sergeant major. “Her imagination and drive ensured the Soldiers across the installation had numerous opportunities to get out and experience what the Army and El Paso have to offer.”

As her time in the Army and as BOSS president ends, Deschenes is preparing for her next adventure. She will participate in the DOD SkillBridge Program with Fort Bliss’ Morale, Welfare and Recreation starting in July 2024. With this internship, Deschenes hopes to secure a civilian job with Fort Bliss MWR when she leaves the Army in November 2024 and hopes to continue to work with Soldiers in a different capacity.

She has also helped select the next Fort Bliss BOSS president, Spc. Marasia Anne Olang, a combat medic assigned with 501st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.

Since Olang's selection, she has been training side-by-side with Deschenes to ensure the Fort Bliss BOSS program is being left in capable hands.

“She makes it very simple, the way that she teaches is very hands on and very basic so that I can understand it,” said Olang. “Because it's so hands on, I will have the muscle memory of how to do the job when she leaves. I'm super excited about it!”

Before departing, she shares her final thoughts of her tenure as BOSS president.

“Be the person that you always needed. People tell me all the time to not get out of the Army,” said Deschenes. “They say ‘you're going to make a change, you're going to be the difference.’ Well, I felt like I was the change. I was the difference for single Soldiers. I became the person I needed when I first got here.”


The Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program, better known as BOSS, aims to help Soldiers engage in the wide range of activities and resources available both on the base and in the surrounding El Paso community.

The BOSS program, founded in 1989, enhances the quality of life and needs of single Soldiers, single parents, or geo bachelors by offering support and a variety of opportunities for personal and professional development through social events and community service opportunities throughout all U.S. Army bases.

For more information about Fort Bliss BOSS and its monthly events, please view the program website.

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