Army Guard recruiters encourage environmental stewardship
Army National Guard
by Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
10/1/2010 - ARLINGTON, Va., (10/1/10) -- Whether it's recycling programs, finding new ways to use energy more efficiently or constructing "green" facilities, the Army Guard works hard to be a leader in protecting the environment.
This month, the Army Guard recruiting division will launch a new program called, "Guard the Environment."
"This program was created, because we wanted to ... give back to the community because the Guard is part of the community," said Army Lt. Col. Bill Dones, the Army Guard marketing and advertising division chief.
"We decided to do something for the recruiting and retention force to give back, and what better way than for them to help clean up their local areas or facilitate giving back in some way to the community in which they drill on a regular basis."
Because recruiting and retention units train twice a month -- once with their Recruit Sustainment Program participants, and once with their unit -- the marketing and advertising leadership has chosen Oct. 16 and Oct. 24 as dates for these units to reach out to their communities in a "green" way.
"No matter where the Guard is, and no matter what the Guard has on its plate, we're never too busy to give back to the citizens that look to us as role models," Dones said.
The idea to do an environmental project came from Dones' boss, Army Col. Rob Porter, who he said has always been an advocate of recycling.
"Because of (him), we really wanted to challenge these units and these armories, to come up with things that they could do to give back, and show the citizens in these communities that the Guard is there, and that they care about the environment," said Dones.
Units in all 54 states and territories are expected to participate in this first-ever event.
Dones and his colleagues also hope that the Joint Force Headquarters in every state will make this a part of their training calendar.
"We're starting out small ... at the recruiting and retention level, to see how it kind of morphs," he said. "We're taking a crawl, walk, run approach to this program."
All Soldiers are eligible to participate in the nationwide event. "Even if you're not involved in recruiting and retention, and you can get out there and give an hour or two during drill, we'd really appreciate it," Dones said.
The most important thing about this program is showing the communities that the Guard cares about where it works and the surrounding environment.
"It's important to show the communities that we're partners with them in this," said Dones. "We the Guard, make it a top priority to train our young men and women to be proper stewards of the environment.
"We hope that by being out in the community and impacting the environment in such a positive matter, that it has a ripple effect and causes others to make a change to better the communities that we call home."