The senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center reminded its workforce of their great value to service members May 3 during a town hall meeting in Hunter Auditorium.

"The reason they're able to come home is because you do what you do," said Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness. "You provide the best equipment in the world. You all do a great, great job.

"You are a strategic point for this nation. Don't ever forget that. They're protected because of the stuff you guys do. I just want to thank everybody for what you do for the joint force."

As McGuiness pointed out, since the last town hall, NSSC has had high-profile visits by congressional staffers, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, and Secretary of the Army John McHugh. More recently, the 6th annual Natick Soldier Systems Center Showcase was held at the Masschusetts State House.

McGuiness told employees that the command group needed their input to keep NSSC functioning properly.

"We've all got to work together to make sure that this installation is the best installation in the Army," McGuiness.

Noting that summer is coming, McGuiness advised caution.

"Please be safe," McGuiness said. "Take care of each other. We're all one team. We all need to stay together."

After McGuiness spoke, representatives of NSSC tenant organizations gave briefings on their recent activities. Lt. Col. Frank Sobchak, garrison commander, outlined upcoming events, including: Summer Safety Day, June 1; Army Birthday, June 14; and the NSSC 5K Fun Run, June 23.

McGuiness handed out a number of awards, including a Meritorious Service Medal to CW4 Michael Doe, the senior airdrop systems technician at TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, Integrated Logistics Support Center, who will PCS soon.

Dr. Jack Obusek, director of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, recognized four NSRDEC employees who brought home two of ten Army awards for Small Business Innovate Research Phase II efforts to bring "innovative technologies and products to the marketplace" -- Anabela Dugas, Paul DellaRocca, Cathy Polito and Darlene Rideout.

Deployed, retiring and new employees were also recognized.