News: Chaplain assistant strengthens unit resiliency, recognized as Hood Hero
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
FORT HOOD, Texas - Though every soldier is a hero, one particular chaplain assistant with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was recognized with a Hood Hero award for customer service excellence at the quarterly Hood Hero luncheon at Club Hood Feb. 11.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Stevenson was nominated by his previous command, the 41st Fires Brigade, where he established and maintained a Soldiers' Resiliency Office at the brigade's headquarters.
“It is an honor to receive this recognition,” said Stevenson, “but I did not do it for the recognition, it was a great opportunity for the soldiers to stop in and take a break from their normal grind. It was an amazing morale boost for the troops.”
Stevenson said one of the biggest draws for the soldiers was the consistent supply of coffee, popcorn and other snacks available throughout the work week and even the weekends as well as a comfortable area to just sit and unwind.
“It was an excellent environment for the soldiers to decompress from the daily stress of the mission,” said Stevenson. “The soldiers could come in, relax for a minute, discuss life with their peers, myself or the chaplain, and move on with the mission with a full charge on their battery.”
The resiliency office was a success for the command according to Maj. Alan Irizarry, the brigade’s chaplain during Stevenson’s time at 41st Fires Bde., who now serves as the garrison priest for Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
“During our time as the unit ministry team, the brigade had a significant decrease in the (serious incident reports), and the success of that can be attributed to Staff Sgt. Stevenson’s efforts,” said Irizarry. “The brigade commander would often visit our resiliency office as an opportunity to sit down with the soldiers in a casual setting and could keep abreast of the issues and challenges facing his unit from the bottom up.”
In addition to operating the resiliency office, Stevenson and Irizarry sponsored several motivational luncheons where they would volunteer to cook for the soldiers and provide an additional opportunity to release the stress from the normal duty days.
“At the end of the day, whatever I could do to help the soldiers, that was what it was all about,” said Stevenson. “The chaplain and I were doing things that were fun for us. We were available to support the soldiers with whatever situation we could. That was fun for us, but we also realized the positive impact it had on the soldiers.”