The Army’s priority is the readiness of the people and resources it depends on to deploy globally in defense of the United States of America and its allies. Readiness determines the warfighter’s ability to fight and win the nation’s wars. Readiness is critical and units cannot achieve it if day-to-day operations aren’t conducted safely, and the Soldiers, civilians, equipment and other resources are jeopardized through unsafe acts or lapses in judgement.
Two Soldiers from 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, received Army Individual Awards of Excellence during a ceremony Aug. 26.
Maj. Denise Simon from 115th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Spc. Kaylee Stone from Fort Hood’s 21st Combat Support Hospital, were recognized for making the most significant contributions to their unit’s accident prevention efforts in support of the Army Safety Awards Program.
The Army Safety Awards Program is administered by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center and is designed to promote risk management by recognizing individual and unit accomplishments in loss prevention.
“They were the only recipients in their rank categories for fiscal year 2018 in the entire Army,” Sean Morrill, III Corps deputy safety director, said. “They previously won the United States Army Forces Command level AIAESs and were then nominated for and won the Army level awards.”
The hard work and dedication of these Soldiers proved their commitment to safety. Brig. Gen. Darren Werner, 13th ESC commander, made it a point to congratulate them personally.
“What we are doing here today is recognizing excellence,” Werner said. “There are a few things that we do in our Army where you have to stop, recognize excellence, pat them on the back and thank them for the effort they put into what they do. Safety is one of those things.”
A petroleum fuel specialist, Stone was selected by the Army chief of staff for the award for being instrumental in 9th Hospital Center’s achieving a perfect score on Fort Hood’s environmental compliance and brigade annual safety inspections. She also provided hazardous material storage training classes to her unit, while assisting outside units on perfecting their programs and developed a new refuel checklist to improve safety procedures.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know that I’m making a difference, especially only being in the Army for three years,” Stone said. “I would have never guessed, coming here, that I would make such a big impact on the unit.”
An Army nurse, Simon was selected in the field grade category for ensuring all accidents were reported, investigated and lessons learned were annotated and shared, organized military and civilian safety experts to educate Soldiers during safety days and any other opportunities that presented themselves, and for continually improving the safety program.
“I’m very honored to be receiving this award,” Simon said. “There wasn’t really a steady safety program and I wanted to help out the unit and Soldiers, so I stepped up. On the hospital side I know about safety and compliance. The same things we do for patient safety – I wanted to bring to Soldier’s safety.”
The Army is always about transitions, and now that Stone has helped transform the unit’s safety program, she moves onto her next duty station and knows the program will be in good hands even after she leaves.
“I didn’t expect everything that’s happened to me since I’ve been here,” Stone explained. “When you put in the hard work, you get recognized for it. I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped me get here,” Stone said. “I know for a fact that my battle (buddy), Spc. Faith Newbold, will hold down the fort once I’m gone. I’ve taught her everything I know, and I’m sure she will do great things in her career as well, if not better.”