Fort Carson's Army Community Service program was recognized as best in the Department of Defense for installations of its size during 2012, the post recently announced.
Fort Carson received the Installation Award of Excellence in the large installation category. Fort Polk, La., won in the medium category, and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, won in the small category.
Army Community Service offices offer programs, events and services that promote self-reliance, resiliency and stability.
These include the Army Volunteer Corps program, the on-post Mayoral Program, the Deployment Readiness Program and Survivor Outreach Services for families of fallen troops.
Installations are judged on five criteria: the unique ways a center meets customer needs, any recognition it has received from civilian partners, how it has improved operations, how it provides quality services and how involved commanders are with community service programs.
Fort Carson Army Community Service Director Patricia Randle said the judges were especially impressed by the Mountain Post's ability to deliver innovative programming, provide exceptional service delivery and collaborate with partner organizations in the community.
An example of innovation: Last year, the center's Family Advocate Program leased billboard space on Platte Avenue and B Street. The billboards' messages were aimed at reducing instances of child abuse.
Program employees also developed a tip card for stressed parents. Additionally, they held talks with Memorial and Penrose hospitals to make sure Evans Army Community Hospital was on the same page as the two when it came to educating new parents about stress before their newborns are discharged from the hospital, said Jill Nugin, manager of the program.
Other major 2012 achievements included establishing a satellite office at The Hub, an on-post restaurant, and inviting on-post representatives with civilian organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project who can introduce their services to troops and their families.
Suzi Bach, wife of Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, pointed out such collaborative efforts in a nomination letter she wrote for the post's program.
"Your collaboration efforts in the community with events such as the Military Children and Youth Symposium, Operation Baby Shower and the Army 101 program are truly noteworthy," she wrote. "Your tireless efforts in communicating through the Warrior Family Community Partnership initiative have resulted in making information and resources known to many nonprofits and agencies that call Colorado Springs home. Your dedication and devotion in building relationships truly represents the spirit of the Colorado Springs community."
Just what does the award mean to Randle and other Fort Carson community service staff members?
"Bragging rights. No money," Randle said with a laugh. "We get a lovely certificate."
For more information on the Fort Carson Army Community Service program, call 526-4590.