FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 28, 2013) -- Army Community Service is committed to providing Soldiers and their Families with opportunities to balance both career and Family, but one employee stood out above the rest.

Mike Kozlowski, ACS personal finance readiness specialist and the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Quality of Life Employee of the Year winner, proved to be more than a valuable asset as he helped Soldiers cope with the dynamic financial complexities of their work and Family lives throughout the year, according to William Allen, ACS director.

"[Kozlowski] is a very professional and dedicated financial counselor. He consistently goes the extra mile for his clients who are individual Soldiers, Family members, retirees, units and coworkers. If it deals with financial matters, Mike is the person to see," said Allen.

The award, according to Evy Bludsworth, DFMWR deputy director, goes to a recipient who exceeds expectations for internal and external customer service and rises above to set new standards of courtesy and efficiency, which result in improved quality of life for the Fort Rucker Army Family.

According to Allen, Kozlowski did just that.

"His assistance and persistence helped one Soldier save [more than] $65,000 in student loan debt repayments, thereby greatly improving the quality of life [of] the Soldier," he said.

This single incident of support that [Kozlowski] provided to this Soldier is but one of many times that he has gone beyond the call of duty to assist a client in need, according to his director.

"His individual action for this client stood high above his three competitors for this ultimate DFMWR Quality of Life Award," he said.

Kozlowski sees himself as a "purveyor of hope" in his counseling efforts and said that his current position is the best job he has ever had.

"[I let] my clients know that financial challenges provide opportunities to excel and experience the resiliency of spirit that comes with overcoming financial difficulties," he said.

Kozlowski does the due diligence necessary to ensure each client can make the most informed decision concerning financial matters and he supports other ACS programs in a myriad of projects and events that occurs both during the normal duty day and in the evenings, said Allen.

"[Kozlowski] is known to provide comedic relief at many events, as well as be the voice of ACS as the moderator at major ACS ceremonies and events," he said. "Mike's versatility is matched only by his willingness to support the total ACS mission and the Fort Rucker community."

Kozlowski said that he is humbled and that the award means a lot to him because it means that he has teammates who continually encourage him to encourage others.

"I've been in offices where a commander's award was proudly displayed. I would usually muse to myself, 'Wow, this person has done some great things!' Never did I think that I would have this honor bestowed upon me," he said.

Although the other quarterly Quality of Life Award recipients were each worthy of consideration and recognition, Kozlowski's actions were truly "Above the Best," said his coworkers.

Kozlowski assists individuals by enabling them to perform and understand financial tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish or had great difficulty accomplishing, according to coworkers.

"He helps people every day to live an easier and more financially independent life," said Mike Burden, ACS financial readiness program manager.

The most gratifying mental images that KozIowski takes away from working are the smiles that occasionally "erupt" on his client's faces when their problems meet up with hope.

"It tells me that their questions have been answered, and that their financial problems can be solved if they understand the methods and techniques to be implemented. To know that I can make a difference, to have a positive impact upon a life, that's what is important to me about what I do," he said.