By Rick Wood/Northwest GuardianFebruary 10, 2011
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers got high marks from the Department of the Army BOSS with two significant program awards for 2010.
The program and a leader received the Armywide recognition.
JBLM Garrison Command Sergeant Major Matthew Barnes said he was honored to receive the Julius Gates Senior Military Advisor of the Year Award.
"I was notified via e-mail by our Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Deputy Director Denis Senftner, and moments later, (by) Col. (Thomas) Brittain,
JBLM garrison commander, of not only my award and selection but also of the fabulous achievement by our installation BOSS team and their (and) our recognition as the best BOSS
team award recipient for extra-large installations," Barnes said.
"I was, and remain more satisfied with their achievement than my selection as recipient of this year's Julius Gates Award."
Barnes has been involved with the BOSS program for the last 10 years.
For nearly three years while serving as the garrison command sergeant major, one of his roles was to be the senior enlisted advisor to the JBLM BOSS team, he said.
"I am involved with BOSS because as a senior leader, having awareness of what this program can do for single servicemembers is not enough," Barnes said.
"Being able to assist our single servicemembers resolving quality-of-life issues, helping out in the community with involvement and service, and getting them out of the barracks on leisure and recreation trips has been very rewarding."
Over the last several years, the installation's BOSS team has been able to identify and correct almost 100 well-being and quality-of-life issues, he said.
"I am also able to take information gained by working with the BOSS team and (representatives) from the brigades and work hand in hand with the brigade CSMs and commanders as well as the Corps command sergeant major and commanding general to resolve issues," Barnes said.
As a senior NCO, mentorship is important as is providing guidance when needed, he said.
"I have learned over the years that listening is just as important as talking," Barnes said. "You also have to be able to act on information and actually deliver what you say you are going to deliver."
The BOSS program makes a difference in single servicemembers lives, he said.
"This program has grown over the last 20 years it has been in existence," Barnes said. "Our single servicemembers need to know that they have a voice and senior leaders are listening."
BOSS resolves issues every day with regards to quality of life issues and it is paying dividends, he said.
"Now, at our Installation BOSS meetings, we have first sergeants, commanders, sergeants major and Air Force chief master sergeants showing up to show their support to this program and their service members," Barnes said.
Since joint basing initial full operating capacity, the BOSS team has worked extremely hard to include Airmen as well as wing and squadron leadership into the program, he said.
"Two weeks ago at the BOSS rejuvenation training, we had 15 Airmen show up," Barnes said. "Not only does the CG and Corps CSM ardently support this program, but the 62nd Airlift Wing leadership does as well."