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February 26, 2010

News

Fort McCoy Lodging employee honored as Army's best at Louisville, Ky., ceremony

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

For the second consecutive year, a Fort McCoy employee has won the title of Army Lodging Employee of the Year.

Paula Skinner, an accounting technician, has been part of the Lodging team for three-and-one-half-years. She received the award in late January at the Soldier Family Action Plan Symposium in Louisville, Ky. Julia Benish won the award last year.

PHOTO: Paula Skinner (second from left) of Fort McCoy displays  the Army Lodging Employee of the Year award. Others pictured from  left to right are: Command Sgt. Maj. Abe Vega, FMWRC, Tyler Freeman (Fort Bragg Supervisor of the Year); David Roach (Stuttgart, Germany, Manager of the Year); Sheryl Cleland, Army Lodging Chief, and Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, Commanding General, FMWRC. Contributed photo
Paula Skinner (second from left) of Fort McCoy displays  the Army Lodging Employee of the Year award. Others pictured from  left to right are: Command Sgt. Maj. Abe Vega, FMWRC, Tyler Freeman (Fort Bragg Supervisor of the Year); David Roach (Stuttgart, Germany, Manager of the Year); Sheryl Cleland, Army Lodging Chief, and Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, Commanding General, FMWRC. Contributed photo

One of three finalists, Skinner said she didn’t know she had won the award until she was tapped on the shoulder to go to the stage at an awards ceremony and didn’t see any of the other finalists.

“I think I won because we stay within the Army Lodging standards (budget), and with the economy the way it is that is very difficult to do,” Skinner said. “I was humbled to win the award. It happened because of all the people I work with. It would have never happened without them.”

Lodging Supervisor Mary Hoeft nominated Skinner for the award and was one of the people who accompanied her to the event.

Hoeft, a past Lodging Manager of the Year recipient, said quality is a hallmark of the Lodging staff. The list of past Fort McCoy award recipients also includes Al Brueggen and Shirley Rentz, as well as several employees who have been finalists.

Skinner said she was blessed to work with Hoeft, who brings a lot of knowledge to the job and serves as an excellent role model for all Lodging employees.

“It was nice to win the award as the last person she nominated for the award just before she retires at the end of March.”

Hoeft said Skinner is a team player who always has the same calm, pleasant demeanor and deals with external and internal employees on the same level.

Skinner has good computer skills, volunteers to help everyone else in the office and shares her knowledge. Hoeft said Skinner also believes in self-development, with education being very important to her. Skinner is close to graduating from the Penn State Advanced Hospitality Program.

Skinner has used her knowledge of accounting to meet every Army budgeting and accounting requirement well within mandated requirements, Hoeft said.

Skinner, the only accountant for the installation’s 740-room, 100-plus employee, $6 million Lodging operation, helped the installation have the first Nonappropriated Fund Lodging budget submitted/approved by Army Lodging.

Hoeft said Skinner also participated in a recent site assistance visit that was requested by Lodging’s higher headquarters. The information shared and exchanged with that program will help improve the Fort McCoy program, as well.

Her off-duty activities include volunteering to support her husband’s ministry, and she brings the same calming influence to others, Hoeft said.

“I was hoping Paula would win,” Hoeft said. “But we won last year with Julia, so I thought maybe the judges would choose someone else. I was happy and surprised when they announced her (Paula) as a winner. It keeps Fort McCoy on the map.”

“It’s nice somebody won in my last year to keep the legacy going,” Hoeft added. “I’m sure that legacy will continue because we have a lot of good people here.”

For winning the competition, Skinner received a trophy, a cash award, and a Commander’s Award for Civilian Service. Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser congratulated Skinner for the award, and noted she provides a long-lasting impression of dedicated efforts to improve the quality of life for both internal and external customers.

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