PHOTO CAPTION: Gift bags, certificates of appreciation and party decorations are on display during the Fort Bliss Army Community Service 48th Birthday Celebration held at the installation's ACS building July 26. In honor of the annual celebration, ACS workers and volunteers held a birthday party where they took time to reflect on the program's history and celebrate the event with the rest of the Fort Bliss community.U.S. Army photo by: Sgt. Terence Ewings, 24th Press Camp Headquarters. Photo Credit: Sgt. Terence Ewings
July 29, 2013
By Sgt. Terence Ewings
EL PASO, Texas - Soldiers, spouses and other members of the Fort Bliss community celebrated the 48th birthday of the Army Community Service July 25 at the installation's ACS building.
ACS workers and volunteers held a birthday party where they took time to celebrate and reflect on the program's history.
"When I was a young wife overseas, not close to family and in need of assistance, I found out that Army Community Service was my support center," said Sally Gonzalez, a former military spouse and the Fort Bliss ACS Information and Referral Program Manager.
"I've always been excited about ACS program, believed in what they stand for, and admired how they support our military community, so being able to work for ACS now is a wonderful blessing," she said.
ACS's mission is to equip soldiers and their families with the skills and education they need to face the challenges of military life, through financial assistance, employment services, crisis and family assistance, and other means of support.
As the information and referral program manager, Gonzalez assists in distributing the most current information about the installation to the rest of Fort Bliss and the El Paso community. These updates can be found in the Fort Bliss Monitor, El Paso Times and other local media outlets.
Gonzalez also was responsible for coordinating the birthday event. In addition to ensuring the event had cakes, refreshments and dance music, she also briefly spoke on the history of ACS and its importance to the community.
"It's so exciting to be able to help people here," said Gonzalez, a native of El Paso. "Being paid to do this job is a bonus on top of it all, but it's a blessing to be able to help our community. When we go out and talk about what ACS does, a lot of people don't know what we do, but when they find out, it's exciting to them as well."
Weeks prior to the birthday celebration, community members had the opportunity to participate in an essay competition by writing on how ACS has positively impacted their lives. During the party, all of the participants received recognition for their essays.
Joanna Schulz, a military spouse from Walnut Creek, Calif., was named the grand prize winner and received an ACS prize package.
"It was very surprising, but it felt good. I've never wrote an essay for a competition before, but I felt it was really important to share my experience on how ACS has benefited me as a military spouse," said Schulz, whose essay will be featured in the fall edition of the local MWR publication, "Bliss Now" magazine.
Throughout the event, Gonzalez and the other ACS members thanked everyone for their support and reminded them that they are celebrating decades of providing "Real Life Solutions for Successful Army Living," the ACS motto.
For more information about Army Community Service and other military community programs, you can visit your local installation's ACS building (Building 2494 here on Ricker Road) or visit Army OneSource online by going to http://www.myarmyonesource.com.
On Facebook, search "Fort Bliss Army Community Service" for the latest local information.