Cloudy skies couldn’t stop this birthday bash. Despite the rain, approximately 225 servicemembers, civilian employees and Family members joined the Army Community Service’s worldwide birthday celebration on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Spates Community Club.
ACS’s official 47th birthday is July 25, but a lunchtime barbeque was held July 20. Originally scheduled to be held outside, the event was moved indoors. Catered by chefs at Spates, ACS staff and volunteers served hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans and cole slaw to the crowd from a line of steam tables. Army Emergency Relief Program Manager Trina Reliford said she found the barbeque chicken especially tasty.
Marcia O’ Connor described the birthday celebration as a popular event that gets the community involved, and provides a venue where servicemembers, Family members, retirees and Department of Defense civilians can come relax, have fun and learn about what ACS offers.
When asked what brought him to the event, Staff Sgt. David Cheeks said, “It’s a good opportunity to see what ACS is about.” Cheeks, the noncommissioned officer for the 1/3 Bn. at the Regimental Aid Station of the Old Guard, said he received assistance from ACS when borrowing cooking equipment once.
“Some 500 to 600 Soldiers and their Families have been assisted thus far this year,” said Financial Readiness Program Manager Leonard Toyer, estimating the number of people who come to JMB-HH’s ACS to take advantage of its programs. He said about $8,000 has been given out in emergency food assistance and $9,000 has been given out in helping hand assistance.
While enjoying the barbeque, Spc. Tina Hills, a medic at TOG’s regiment aid station, recalled how ACS gave free food cards to Soldiers to help them cope with power outages from the late June storm.
Toyer described ACS as being a “military social services [agency].” He said it caters to the needs of Soldiers and their Families by offering financial, relocation, employment and Family advocate assistance. Since credit is tied to every facet of today’s economy, financial readiness is highly-utilized and managing your credit is stressed, Toyer added, explaining how customers can receive free credit reports.
Most of the people who were in attendance at the picnic were already familiar with ACS.
In case you are unaware, ACS provides strong Family support and an outlet to take away burdens from Soldiers so they can concentrate on their missions.
Families that are relocating often find the information and referral office dependable and resourceful when gaining information about what area they are planning to move to.
Lt. Col. Emma Baird, the founder of ACS, originally came up with the concept of a place where all the Soldiers and their Families could have their needs met in one spot. On July 25, 1965 this concept became a reality when the Army chief of staff approved it.