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.
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.
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
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
“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
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,
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
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
“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
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.