FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 30, 2017) -- They will all tell you the same thing – how it was never a matter of one individual, but rather the collective efforts of a team.
“No leader can expect success going it on their own,” said Stephen Baker, the garrison’s public affairs director and latest winner of the Stalwart Award, the Installation Management Command’s highest honor. “It takes a fully committed team to make the mission succeed, so I attribute this award to my dedicated staff and others throughout the garrison who come in and give 100 percent every day.”
Of the nearly 30,000 IMCOM employees eligible for the award around the globe, only slightly more than a dozen are selected annually – and Fort Lee employees have earned the nod four times in the last five years. Previous winners were Debra Bingham, the previous public affairs director; Melissa Magowan, the former deputy to the garrison commander; and Scott Brown, director of plans, training, mobilization and security.
Magowan said the common trait among Fort Lee’s Stalwart winners is that the team concept resonates with each of them.
“The Stalwart Award recognizes individuals who embody the IMCOM and Army values,” she said. “Teamwork is integral to these values, and every winner recognizes that we at the garrison are part of many teams – our small directorate team and our bigger installation and IMCOM teams and even, on a larger scale, the Army team. Our winners understand and value that no one works alone – we all perform as part of these teams to meet our missions.
“In the almost nine years I was the deputy at Fort Lee, we at the garrison did not see ourselves as an isolated entity,” Magowan continued. “We recognized that our mission was to meet the needs of the Soldiers and civilians at Fort Lee within our resource constraints. We integrated ourselves with our partners to identify their priorities and, when we couldn’t meet them internally, we worked very hard to get our region and headquarters to support these priorities with resources. In short, we saw ourselves as part of Team Lee – it wasn’t just a catch phrase to us. We lived and believed in customer service.”
Brown agreed that working together is a vital aspect of the installation.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link,” Brown said. “So, if we can give a little bit extra to help someone else somewhere, then when our professional or personal weak link shows up, someone can give that back to me and my team.”
As the deputy garrison commander, Magowan had a unique insight into the achievements of each directorate and she said she was not surprised when the winners were announced.
“The Stalwart Award represents not only competence in the field of service, but also selfless service, teamwork and loyalty to the command and the Army,” she said. “Every person I recommended for nomination met those criteria. Each of these leaders in their field made significant sacrifices in their personal lives on a daily basis to support the mission.
“IMCOM recognized not only the skills but the sacrifices and the willingness to freely sacrifice due to the commitment these employees had,” Magowan said. “Each was a cheerleader for the garrison and IMCOM – when others were negative, they were able to communicate the positive aspects of our mission and explain our constraints. Finally, they all recognized the importance of teamwork – each of them supported, rewarded, and mentored their employees, helped their peers, and provided clear and honest recommendations to both the garrison command group and our installation senior leaders.”
As for each winner, Magowan was quick to point out their achievements.
“Deb worked with terminal cancer and still managed to completely re-energize and stabilize the garrison PAO organization,” she said. “Stephen took over for Deb when she could no longer work while performing his own mission. When he was selected as the PAO director, he dual-hatted for almost a year as the CASCOM PAO, while performing the job as the garrison PAO at great personal sacrifice of time and with no additional compensation.
“Scott worked closely with CASCOM to ensure that our operations mission never failed,” Magowan continued, “and he was a leader in every high visibility mission dealing with our communities – to include the president visit, the 100th anniversary run and ceremony, and many sensitive anti-terrorism and force protection actions. Scott worked nights and weekends tirelessly. He was a 24-hour resource, often at work when others were enjoying time off.”
As for herself, Magowan received the Stalwart Award for her efforts to stabilize Fort Lee’s security guard workforce, improving hiring and awards processes, and establishing a mentorship program. She also helped create the now fully implemented Commander’s Advisory Group to give non-supervisory employees a stronger voice within the garrison.
During this year’s award ceremony Nov. 16 at IMCOM headquarters in San Antonio, IMCOM Chief of Staff Joe Capps recognized 15 civilians for their leadership. Joining Capps on stage to present the Stalwart Awards was Command Sgt. Maj. Melissa Judkins, as other recipients from past years looked on.
During the presentations, the recipients received their individual achievement medal, a certificate and a shadow box. The certificate reads in part: “for extraordinary achievement, dedication to excellence and inspirational team spirit during the period 1 January to 31 December 2016. Your contributions to the Installation Management Command and the United States Army far exceed the call of duty.”
After receiving the award, Baker expressed his astonishment, saying many others deserved the credit.
“It’s humbling to join our growing number of Stalwart Award recipients, but the real story is that we’ve created something special here,” Baker said. “We have a culture where people instinctively recognize the importance of working not just as a team, but as a team of teams. The award might be sitting on my shelf, but as far as I’m concerned it belongs to Team Lee.”
(Some information provided by IMCOM News Service.)