FORT STEWART, Ga. - Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield hosted the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Safety, Environment, and Occupational, Health on May 14. The Honorable Tad Davis visited Fort Stewart to present the installation with the Army's Environmental Quality Award. He said the award is a testament to the Army's resolve to be good stewards of our resources.
Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, took the time to talk with several Department of Public Works engineers prior to Secretary Davis' award presentation, taking particular interest in Stewart-Hunter efforts to ensure fuel tanks and other containers holding toxic substances don't leak. He said that considering coastal Georgia's high water table, it was especially important to prevent spills and leaks of any substance that could contaminate the water supply. Stewart-Hunter's success in protecting the water supply is one factor that led to it winning the Army's Environmental Quality Award for a fourth time.
During the award ceremony, Brig. Gen. Phillips noted, "No one does it better than the Army, and clearly Stewart-Hunter does it best!"
Stewart-Hunter specifically won the award for integrating sustainability of its resources into all that the installation does. The success of those efforts is due to the commitment by every Soldier, Family Member and civilian, together with the partnership of local communities, regulatory agencies, and environmental stakeholders committing to those same sustainability endeavors, Secretary Davis said.
Colonel Kevin Milton, Stewart-Hunter garrison commander, commented, "Our concerted efforts have paid dividends with respect to water conservation, recycling and associated increased landfill capacity, and a training environment that helps to meet the Army's training needs while recovering an endangered species - the Red Cockaded Woodpecker."
"You can be proud of the fact your efforts are making a difference and being heralded as a model for the Army," Secretary Davis said.
Secretary Davis reiterated that sustainability efforts cannot be successfully accomplished by one organization on an installation. It takes an integrated effort by all and a command emphasis to ensure we move toward sustainability goals, he said. Secretary Davis said he was grateful for the opportunity to get away from Washington and recognize the hard work of installations like Stewart-Hunter, adding that when he was away from Washington, he could "breathe more easily" and "think more clearly."
As reported recently by KMTV-TV-Online (Omaha, Neb.), Tom Easterly, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and judge for the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program, commented, "Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield have demonstrated that by educating and involving every Soldier and civilian, a facility can reduce its environmental impact to a level that allows its mission to be sustained for the long term...This is the future of environmental protection, moving from preventing harm to operating in harmony with the natural environment."
In accepting the award on behalf of Stewart-Hunter, Tom Fry, DPW Environmental Division chief thanked the military and civilian workforce for joining him in this endeavor and being part of Stewart-Hunter's Sustainability Team.
"There's a lot we can be proud of that each and every one of us played a part in," he said.
Some of Stewart-Hunter's accomplishments include the following:
Aca,!Ac Implementing a Sustainability Management System that has been compliant with the International Organizations for Standardization in Environmental Management since September 2005.
Aca,!Ac Achieving a 16 percent water intensity reduction over the past two years, and exceeding the Executive Order to reduce water intensity by 2 percent per year from Fiscal Year 2007 baseline.
Aca,!Ac Diverting 40 percent of its municipal solid waste from its landfill by recycling.
Aca,!Ac Diverting over 80 percent of its construction and demolition debris from its landfill by recycling.
Aca,!Ac Extending the life of our landfill and avoiding over $10 million dollars in off-site disposal costs.
Aca,!Ac Adhering to training guidelines that protect our training lands which we share with the Red Cockaded Woodpecker that have helped recover the species so well that Stewart-Hunter has been able to contribute over 30 birds to other nearby conservation areas.
Aca,!Ac Receiving the Military Conservation Partner award in 2009.
Although the Army's Environmental Quality Award and other accomplishments give the DPW Environmental Division cause to momentarily stop and celebrate, Fry said that we need to remember the Sustainability Management System motto of "Continual Improvement."
"We've made great progress - now let's keep up that momentum," he said. "Remember, sustainability starts now...with you!"
The award presentation was made outside the DPW Environmental Division, building 1137, next to a tree dedicated in memory of David McKivergan, an archeologist who served with Stewart's DPW Environmental Branch from 1995 to 2000. McKivergan died in July 2000. Also attending the presentation ceremony was Ginger Cucolo, wife of Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd ID commander, and Command Sergeants Major Jeffrey Ashmen and James Ervin, 3rd ID-rear and Stewart-Hunter Garrison, respectively.