Hundreds of Soldiers, civilian employees, volunteers and Family members gathered on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall near the Army Community Service offices for the 45th ACS birthday picnic last Friday. ACS employees were on hand to serve food to everyone in attendance.
While guests enjoyed eating burgers, hotdogs and barbeque chicken along with baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw and chips, members of The U.S. Army Band, ''Pershing's Own" ensemble Downrange entertained guests with current and oldies pop music. Some guests were tapping their feet or singing along with the band during the picnic. Duffles the clown was on hand to entertain guests with her balloon animals. A special cake was presented for dessert.

Members of the JBM-HH Police Department were on hand with ''McGruff the crime dog" to talk with guests about Kid Print and other safety issues as well as patrol for parking issues. ''There's a good crowd here today and no major problems," said Lt. Tracy Gooden.

One of the volunteers helping ACS was Sgt. 1st Class Don Francisco. Francisco is a musician in the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps. ''I volunteered to help ACS after I was a recipient of their help 19 years ago," he said. ''When I was first stationed in the area ... my wife was unemployed and ACS gave us food baskets." Francisco and his wife also received financial counseling. ''Today I'm helping clean up and whatever [else] ACS employees need me to do," he added. ''Sometimes I provide music at ACS events when I'm not performing with the Fife and Drum Corps."

Carla Moss, ACS Information and Referral Program coordinator, provided fliers and brochures about the various ACS services available. ''I'm doing double-duty today," she laughed while holding a clicker. ''I'm taking a count of every person walking down the hill to the picnic so we'll know the total [number] attending today. Some of the services provided by ACS include: Information and Referral; Army Emergency Relief; Financial Readiness; the Exceptional Family Member Program; Relocation Assistance as well as Family Advocacy, Moss said.

Volunteer supervisor Blanche Glymph spends much of her free time working with ACS. ''I've been a volunteer with ACS since 1974, and I guess I'll continue to do this until they kick me out," joked the 95-year-old, who was a Soldier's wife for 32 years. ''I do this because I love working with people," she said. ''We have 32 volunteers who help with various services, from the help desk to the widows outreach program."

Glymph said ACS services have grown and improved over the years. ''There's a lot more services available now than when I first started working as a volunteer. Back then, we only had the loan closet [for household goods] and Army Emergency Relief."

EFMP manager, Marcia O'Connor, an ACS employee since 1996, said, ''Today was wonderful. We had a great turnout."

Moss agreed. ''We had a total of 416 guests at the picnic today."

ACS is located in Building 201 on Custer Road on Fort Myer. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Telephone numbers are (703) 696-3510, DSN: 426-3510, FAX: (703) 696-0159.The websites are: http:AcA "AcA " "sitesAcA "servicesAcA "community.asp and