REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Placed on a table in front of the guest speaker at the April 22 local celebration of the 102nd birthday of the Army Reserve was an enormous trophy that represented a major milestone for the celebration's host.

The Third Region President's Trophy of the Association of the U.S. Army was presented to the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of AUSA at a third region meeting a week before the Reserve birthday celebration. The chapter's president, Steve Taylor, made it a point to have the trophy at the Reserve event.

"Last year, we were the runner-up to Fort Bragg (N.C.) and before that we were in first place with Fort Bragg the runner-up," Taylor said. "So we've recovered the trophy. We are back in first place."

The trophy represents the best overall chapter in the third region, which includes 18 southeastern AUSA chapters in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Republic of Panama.

When selecting the best overall chapter, judges "look at chapter involvement across the board in AUSA-related activities," Taylor said.

He said the trophy will go a long way in focusing chapter board members on reaching high goals.

"It should provide a boost to our chapter and chapter officers that hard work pays off," Taylor said. "But we can't rest on our laurels because we would really like to receive the national award."

The local chapter was the best chapter in the nation for five years in a row. In 2009, the local chapter was the runner-up to Fort Hood, Texas.

"We're all supporting our Soldiers. Fort Hood just edged us out," Taylor said. "But it's all about supporting our Soldiers and as long as all of us are doing that then we are all winners."

Taylor hopes to regain the national best chapter status again this year at the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C. in late October. Although the local chapter won the third region award, all chapters in the third region and throughout the nation are still in the competition for the national best chapter award.

"This third region award is an indication that we are certainly in the top echelon in the competition for the national award," he said.