“I make a joke of it, they can pretty much have a bomb drop on Fort Hood, but people will still need their ID card,” James Butler, office manager for the ID card office at the Copeland Soldier Service Center joked. “They’re still going to need their ID cards because that’s what’s getting them into different places, even if they’re going somewhere else, that ID card is known worldwide, so they need that ID card.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many different facilities on post have had to make some drastic changes to their everyday operations. The ID card office in the Copeland Center is no exception. Butler, along with all 11 of his coworkers, are considered mission essential during this unique time.
“When the order came down back in March it was all new to us, because at one time our system was appointments and a few walk-ins. We were averaging anywhere from 250 to 350 (customers) a day,” Butler said. “That changed immensely once this COVID-19 order came down, where they wanted us to go to as few face-to-face contacts as possible.”
It was a big change for the office that not only affected the staff, but their customers as well.
“We, pretty much, did a lot for our customers before all this came down, where it was an easy access for us and for them,” Butler said. “Now it’s not so easy because we’ve got a lot of elderly people that are not computer literate and that is where we have to actually make a way for them to be taken care of too. We can’t forget about them. That’s one of our main customers, the elderly.”
Besides email and faxing, customers can mail in a physical copy of their photo and the proper documentation to the office where staff will take care of their issue.
“We’ve rearranged our personnel to be able to not only handle the ones that are coming in, but to set up a log, a tracking system, for all of the emails, mail and faxes that are coming in so that we can get that stuff … done,” Butler stated.
Though there are certain situations that require customers to come in to receive their ID, many issues can be resolved remotely and the staff asks that, if possible, for customers to stay home.
“Read the information and if you don’t need to come in, please, don’t come in,” Willie Patrick, ID card supervisor, said. “We are still trying to stop the spread and we want to ensure that we do our part, unless you just absolutely must come in here.”
For those who must come into the office the staff will be there to help you, but you must wear a mask.
“We will listen to your problem. If it’s a lost ID card, if it’s a stolen ID card, we want to ensure that people can show they have health care and that’s the most important issue,” Patrick said. “New hires, stuff like that, we got you, we’re going to take care of you. When you come in with your mask we’ll definitely take care of you because we break that six feet rule when you sit right next to us to take the picture.”
Benefits have been extended for USIDs which expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020.
For more information on remote renewals and proper documentation visit https://home.army.mil/hood/index.php/units-tenants/Garrison-1/directorate-human-resources/adjutant-general/ID-Cards.