By Susanne KapplerFebruary 16, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- An employee with the Fort Jackson Housing Division has been named the top housing employee in the Army at the Professional Housing Management Association's annual conference in San Diego earlier this month. Leon Terry, lead housing management assistant with the Housing Services Office, was named the outstanding housing/billeting employee for 2011.
Terry, an Army retiree who has worked on Fort Jackson since 1993, said he was in disbelief when he found out he won.
"I said, 'No, not me, I haven't done anything special,'" Terry said.
Emma Watson, Housing Division chief, who nominated Terry, said she feels differently.
"He always does everything that he can to help a Soldier or a family in need. To say he goes above and beyond kind of sounds cliché, but that's really him," Watson said. "He stays to get things done. He spends extra time after duty to take care of Soldiers and their families and their needs."
Terry said he appreciates the award, but that he prefers to look at his accomplishments as a result of a team effort.
"I'm very humbled. I'm a behind-the-scenes guy. I like to work, not be noticed," he said. "I appreciate the award, but I think I'm only as good as the folks around me."
Terry's team has been reduced to two, a number that includes himself, which adds extra challenges to the team accomplishing the mission, Watson said.
"No one from Fort Jackson has won in the past," she said. "I think it says a whole lot about the Fort Jackson team as a whole to be recognized, because you are selected among many, many others. To bring it back to Fort Jackson, to me, is a major accomplishment."
Watson emphasized that she is proud of all of her employees, and that she strives to nominate a team member each year. She said being recognized as the top employee in the Army is a great accomplishment.
"I was really pleased that Leon - and that all that he's done - was recognized, not just at this level, but at the Army level as well. It's big for Leon, and he deserves it."
Terry said his job is to make sure Soldiers and their families get settled as quickly and smoothly as possible.
"Our Number One priority is taking care of the Soldiers and making sure they're happy when they leave this office."
Sometimes that requires a little extra effort, he said.
"(Working from) 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. is OK, but if (we) have to be here afterwards, taking care of customers and customer needs, trying to help (deal with) different situations ... we stay here as a team and do it. We're customer-oriented and we love our Soldiers and families," he said.
Terry, who is also active on post with the Daniel Circle Chapel men's choir, said his attitude stems from his faith.
"Glory to God. He puts it in my spirit to help someone and do the best that I can," he said. "When I wake up in the morning, as I'm preparing to come to work, I say, 'Lord, let me be able to help somebody today, make somebody's day a little better.' ... "Life is about helping your fellow man with love and kindness, then thank him and wish him a blessed day."