HEIDELBERG, Germany - Two members of Installation Management Command-Europe have been honored for continually improving the quality of life for Soldiers and Families through their extensive experience and knowledge in the morale, welfare and recreation arena.

Dan Gasparino and Mary Schweitzer each received a White Plume Award from Russell Hall, director of IMCOM-Europe, who jokingly said: "We don't give these things out just when you retire."

The White Plume Award is the highest award in the field of MWR. It was established in June 1982 by The Adjutant General of the Army, with only about 300 of the medals having been presented Army-wide since then.

Hall, along with Arnie Cole, chief of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division for IMCOM-Europe, noted that the two honorees' efforts directly impact Soldiers at the grass-roots level.

For instance, Gasparino procured state-of-the-art recreation equipment for garrison gyms, along with also being responsible for a series of world-class concerts and celebrity appearances at installations throughout Europe. Behind the scenes, he aligned the transition of staffing for garrisons and undertook a complete review of MWR facilities. Plus he managed to limit closure costs of garrisons, which enabled facilities located there to serve customers longer.

Saving money and streamlining services has also been a forte of Schweitzer, as she guided the transformation on the U.S Army in Europe MWR One Fund into the IMCOM-Europe Single and Oversight Funds. Additionally, she developed a reinvestment process to optimize the use of funds.

Indeed, Schweitzer is known for working on projects close to a Soldier's heart. Cole called her the "money side of the house" that helped in making events such as welcome home celebrations possible. Keeping the whole family in mind, she even executed a plan to improve financial support for pet veterinary services.

Gasparino, chief of recreation IMCOM- Europe MWR, has focused his 30-year career on sports, recreation, business, analysis and base operations. He started with MWR in 1978 working in Berchtesgaden, Germany, at the Armed Forces Recreation Center. He received his master's degree in Recreation Administration/Business from Northeastern University in Boston.

Schweitzer, chief of the Financial Management Group for IMCOM-Europe MWR, started her morale, welfare and recreation career in 1986, focusing on accounting, budget, funds control and management analysis. She attended the University of Wisconsin, and also earned the designation of a Certified Defense Financial Manager.