Fort McCoy News Sept. 9, 2016

Deputy assistant secretary of Army visits

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health) Eugene Collins visited Fort McCoy Aug. 30-31 to present an award and learn more about the installation's environmental, cultural, and natural-resources programs.

In his position at the Pentagon, Collins provides executive leadership for all Army sustainability, environment, natural-resources, safety, and occupational-health programs. The main purpose for his Fort McCoy visit was to present the Natural Resources Branch (NRB) of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division with the Army's "Best Natural Resources Conservation Team" award earned during the fiscal year 2015 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health) Eugene Collins (left) talks with audience members Aug. 31 during the presentation of the Army’s “Best Natural Resources Conservation Team” award to the Natural Resources Branch of the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and
Occupational Health) Eugene Collins (left) talks with audience members
Aug. 31 during the presentation of the Army's "Best Natural Resources
Conservation Team" award to the Natural Resources Branch of the
Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division.


Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health) Eugene Collins (center) talks with Fort McCoy Fisheries Biologist John Noble (left) about trout habitat at the low-water crossing on East Silver Creek on Fort McCoy’s South Post Aug. 31.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and
Occupational Health) Eugene Collins (center) talks with Fort McCoy
Fisheries Biologist John Noble (left) about trout habitat at the low-water
crossing on East Silver Creek on Fort McCoy's South Post Aug. 31.

The Army Environmental Awards program recognizes and rewards excellence in development, management, and transferability of environmental programs that increase environmental quality, enhance the mission, and help make the Army sustainable.

"I really do appreciate the time I have spent with you," Collins said during the award presentation Aug. 31. "I've had just a short time with you, but I've got to see your operation, see the smiles on your faces, and see the magic behind what makes Fort McCoy work, what makes (your) partnership with (local communities) solid, and more importantly, what you do to take care of the environment.

"When you take care of the environment, it takes care of the readiness and provides training opportunities for all the folks who come in on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to do what they do to get trained up to fight and win," he said.

Collins said he was "more than happy" to come present the award to Fort McCoy personally, and the NRB team was very deserving of the award.

"You are reaping the benefits of being a Family, having pride in ownership, and having that team spirit to work collaboratively with all the folks who you have to work with," Collins said. "It takes the whole team to make it work. … It also takes leadership. … It shows that you folks get together as a team, as a Family, and do what's right not only for Fort McCoy, but also for the Department of Defense, which in turn makes it right for our great country. Hats off to all the things you are doing."

Prior to the award presentation, Collins visited field sites with NRB and DPW staff members to stream- and wetlands-restoration as well as forestry and endangered-species projects.

"It was great having (him) visit Fort McCoy," said DPW Environmental Division Chief James R. Hessil.

"He was very personable and sincerely interested in how we manage the natural resources to support Fort McCoy's military mission. He really seemed to enjoy the different wildlife, and he left with a much better understanding of our mission and the natural-resource challenges that we face."

For more information about cultural and natural resources at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-2252.