Garrison employee earns USAREUR’s top human resources award

by U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs Office

A U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz civilian employee was named the U.S. Army Europe’s top civilian human resources specialist of the year.

Daniel Washington Jr., with the garrison’s Directorate of Human Resources in Baumholder recently received the 2017 Frederick E. Vollrath Civilian of the Year (GS-9 and Below).

Washington, who worked in the military human resources field for 14 of his 19 years of civil service, said he enjoyed his job because he saw “the instant results from the service I provide compared to long-term projects and planning. In this job, thank yous come quickly and anxieties are few.”

Washington performed a variety of duties to earn the award.

“I try to be a valuable team member of highly contributing volunteers, retirees and co-workers in retiree services, casualty management, passport services and personnel actions,” he explained.

Daniel Washington Jr., human resources specialist with U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz in Baumholder, was recently named the 2017 Frederick E. Vollrath Civilian of the Year (GS-9 and Below). Washington performed several duties to include retiree services, casualty management, passport services and personnel actions to earn the award. Photo by Bernd Mai (IMCOM)

His critical involvement in the joint Kaiserslautern Military Community Retirement Services Council and 86th Airlift Wing Retiree Activities Office’s tri-monthly “Surviving Spouse Workshop” and “Retirees Helping Retirees” programs were recognized by the Air Force Personnel Center’s Retirement Services office as a best practice. In this capacity, he also served as a volunteer briefer and counselor at the weekend workshops, providing instruction to military retirees and their spouses on reporting a casualty and collecting associated documents for benefits processing.

Washington also shared his expert knowledge of passport and visa processes to assist customers with obtaining documentation quickly for temporary duty, permanent change of station and individual travel requirements. He also provided many same-day issued passports for emergency travel.

“It was tough to tackle complex military and civilian emergency passport and visa travel needs, but it was great knowing that I brought and kept families together while saving money for them,” he said. “This was my routine responsibility, and I placed no great weight on any of my accomplishments.”

Lastly, serving as Baumholder’s casualty management officer, Washington managed several cases dealing with fatalities and seriously injured individuals and ensured funeral honors and benefits applications were properly processed. He also revalidated the support provided by Survivor Outreach Services within the USAG RP area of responsibility.

Washington credits many mentors who molded him into the person he is today.

“I can name plenty of mentors, from my mother and father to relatives to all that have set great examples and bad examples for me,” he said. One mentor he remembered in particular was his eighth grade band teacher, Mr. Hughes, who gave him a “C” for not showing up to a band performance.

“That taught me reliability and availability,” he said.

With all of his experience, lessons learned and hard work, Washington’s recognition isn’t a surprise, said his supervisor, James Morris, Baumholder Central Processing Facility manager.

“Mr. Washington sets the standard across the board and makes everyone around him better,” Morris said. “He’s a great team player like a point guard that makes everyone around him great.”

The award was named after retired Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Vollrath and developed to recognize human resource personnel for their quality service and leadership. Vollrath was a 45-year professional in the human resources field and the second adjutant general officer to be promoted to lieutenant general.