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Monthly awards ceremony recognizes garrison employees for dedication to Soldiers, families

By Maria Childs | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | July 11, 2017

     Leaders of the Fort Riley garrison recognized the Employee of the Month for April and May during a ceremony June 20 at Ware Parade Field.

     Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander, said this is a time when he gets to personally thank the employees who go above and beyond during the course of their job duties on a daily basis.

     “If you have not noticed, we have been very busy these past few months … this is nothing new to this garrison,” he said. “We have dealt with challenges, shortages and loss of funding and we still excel. You will hear about people today that excel daily … the contributions they give to Fort Riley and this garrison is immeasurable.”

     Rod Cruz, from the Garrison Safety Office, was selected as the Employee of the Month for April. Cruz was recognized for being named the 2016 U.S. Army Instructor of the Year by the National Safety Council’s defensive driver course.

     Cruz oversees the traffic safety training program at Fort Riley, which consists of two sub-components — the defensive driver course and the motorcycle training program.

     “He is the main reason we sit right now with 357 days without a POV (privately-owned vehicle) fatality,” said Rick Hearron, installation safety manager. “What Rod does touches Soldiers, family members and the civilian workforce and ultimately builds readiness which is our number one priority.”

     Chris Hallenbeck, from the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, was selected as the Employee of the Month for May.

     Hallenbeck coordinated and executed the installation’s first-ever 24-hour full scale exercise May 17 and 18. The exercise tested Fort Riley’s ability to respond and recover from a regional tornado involving more than 300 personnel from across the installation.

     Hallenbeck arranged for a realistic demolished neighborhood setting with Corvias Military Living, incorporated 14 local and regional emergency response partners throughout the state and developed the master scenario to stress all the installation’s mission command nodes. During the exercise, he maintained control of 40 role players and his plan enabled the emergency family assistance center to process more than 50 personnel with 14 pets and placing them in shelters.

     Tom Pendleton, chief of plans, DPTMS, accepted Hallenbeck’s certificate of appreciation.

     Steve Crusinberry, director of DPTMS, said he couldn’t say enough good things about the work Hallenbeck does.

     “They rubbled buildings, we worked 24 hours, we stood up emergency response all over the installation — Chris was the guy ultimately responsible for putting all that together,” he said. “We didn’t give him any help … it’s so impressive and he did such a great job.”

     Team awards given during this ceremony included Fort Riley’s commencement ceremony team award as well as recognizing the individuals who completed tranche IV of the performance triad.

     Two special awards were also given.

     Harry Hardy, supervisory attorney for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, was presented the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service for his leadership and management skills demonstrated while enabling seamless operation of the garrison command group acting as the deputy garrison commander.

     Kathleen Bellinder, Equal Employment Opportunity manager at Fort Riley, was also presented the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service for her performance as the EEO manager. She has gone from a reactive posture to a proactive methodology that enables the garrison to prevent EEO challenges versus just reacting to them.

 

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