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Defense secretary recognizes Fort Hood’s recycling efforts

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Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:00 pm

By Rose L. Thayer

Fort Hood Herald

Fort Hood was named the recipient of two 2012 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, recognizing the efforts of the recycling team and the installation as a whole.

It was the only installation to receive more than one of the 10 awards.

"I'm extremely proud of all the Fort Hood employees and community members who work together on this issue and do so much to protect our environment here in Central Texas," said Col. Mark Freitag, Fort Hood garrison commander.

The awards recognized Fort Hood's environmental quality as a non-industrial installation and the recycle team for environmental quality on the individual or team level.

While Fort Hood has received awards over the past decade at the Department of the Army level, this is the first time it beat out all other Defense Department entities since 1996.

"These awards recognize their efforts as the best in the military, and motivates us one step closer to our goal of Net Zero by 2020," said Freitag.

Fort Hood is working to close its landfills by 2020, and many of these efforts were included in the award submission packet.

The installation award is to recognize some of the many outreach efforts and systems used to educate the community and improve the environment.

"I believe one of the most important things to look at for these awards and packages is the outreach," said Steve Burrow, chief of environmental programs within the directorate. "How are we getting out there and educating folks? What's really awesome is that the outreach efforts at Fort Hood are well beyond what you see at other installations."

Some of the outreach programs include annual events such as Earth Fest in April, American Recycles Day in November and partnering with local youth.

"We have a lot of credibility off this installation," said Burrow. "It's how we do this and get people involved. Outreach is the most important thing people do to have successful programs."

Outreach also is responsible for the recycling award, said Jaycee Turnquist, the recently retired recycling operations manager.

"One of the things that we've tried to do is have a proactive approach instead of reactive," he said. "We are out in front of everybody else looking at new commodities and ways to get people involved."

During fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the recycle program generated $4.12 million with Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service sales assistance, according to the award application provided by Fort Hood.

The money generated from recycling pays for the program, as well as capital improvements and other community projects, such as Freedom Fest fireworks, welcome-home celebrations and carnivals.

During the same time period, $428,000 was provided to support Fort Hood pollution prevention projects and $164,000 for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation events.

Officials will receive the award in June, along with three other awards from Keep Texas Beautiful.

"It makes everybody on the team here feel great that they are recognized for what they do," Turnquist said. "Especially being recognized at an extremely high level."

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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