Drake takes top honors with Stalwart Award, credits team

| May 5, 2011 | 1 Comment

Lacey Justinger
Managing Editor

Drake

Drake

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — He ends each week’s staff coordination meeting, where office members discuss upcoming events and actions, with “be careful out there,” in accordance with Installation Management Commands’ line of effort six: safety.

In fact, Dennis Drake, director, U.S. Army-Garrison Public Affairs Office, is so in tune with IMCOM’s vision and messages that he was awarded a Stalwart Award during the IMCOM Symposium, April 20, in San Antonio.

The awards demonstrate the recipients’ positive contributions to IMCOM’s mission and goals, and Drake’s award reads “for extraordinary achievement, dedication to excellence and inspirational team spirit … your contribution to IMCOM and the U.S. Army far exceeds the call of duty.”

“The award is presented to an IMCOM employee who stands out as a model leader and exemplifies the spirit of IMCOM,” said Jim Duttweiler, deputy garrison commander, USAG-HI. “To put it more succinctly, Drake is the IMCOM (Pacific Region’s) ‘Most Valuable Player’ for 2011.”

He went on to explain that the award’s criteria includes representing high standards of performance and promoting the IMCOM mission, vision and work performance in an exemplary manner.

“Just being one of the nominees was a real honor,” Drake said. “The award came as a total surprise.”

Drake and his office are responsible for keeping different audiences on island — Soldiers, families, Department of the Army civilians, retirees, community members, local leaders and media outlets — informed about Army’s missions, goals, activities and contributions.

“This award is really due to the incredible team of public affairs professionals here at USAG-HI, who do extraordinary work every day and truly make this the best public affairs office in IMCOM,” Drake said.

“Drake leads a great team, and the award is reflective of the outstanding work our PAO team has done across the board,” said Duttweiler.

Drake was specifically honored for successful initiatives in both external and internal public affairs efforts.

The USAG-HI PAO recently won first place for a broadcast command information campaign at the IMCOM-level Keith L. Ware competition, third place for an outstanding initiative in new media and first place for television news break. The Hawaii Army Weekly also placed second for metro-format newspapers. At the DA-level KLWs, the office took home a third place finish in a broadcast command information campaign, third place for Army newspapers and third place for a command information campaign.

In the area of media relations, Drake and his team were particularly successful in achieving positive media coverage in a myriad of controversial, high-visibility events, including release of the depleted uranium public health risk assessment on the Big Island, endangered species preservation efforts at Army installations throughout Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian Covenant signing with senior Army and Hawaiian civic leaders.

His community relations team successfully worked numerous contentious issues, including increased traffic congestion surrounding Army installations, unexploded ordnance on public lands, the inadvertent uncovering of human remains on Schofield Barracks ranges, proposed counter-improvised explosive device training at Makua Military Reservation and increased cultural access to the installations. Drake and his staff successfully resolved or increased understanding of these and other issues through their personal attendance at neighborhood and community board meetings and other forums throughout the year.

“The Army in Hawaii is complicated — organizationally — and one of Drake’s strengths is recognizing that our garrison PAO can’t do this alone,” Duttweiler said. “He has been the catalyst for sharing information across the commands and our local community, which has put USAG-HI at the forefront community outreach and community relations.”

Drake, a retired Army colonel, served in several public affairs assignments while on active duty, prior to retiring in 2003 following tours at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as a brigade commander.

He entered civil service in 2005, as public affairs director of the Army’s global Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, then headquartered in Washington. He joined the USAG-HI staff in October 2007.

“I was extremely happy and proud to see Drake receive the Stalwart Award,” Duttweiler said. “He has been a superb leader in our efforts to keep our community informed, and this award recognizes his tremendous efforts.”

The Stalwart award comes with a couple plaques and a medallion, but the USAG-HI public affairs professionals added a few mementoes of their own — a photograph of office members and a bottle of glue — to demonstrate the bonds that tie the group together with its leader.

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Category: Leadership, News

Comments (1)

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  1. David S. Layton CW5 (R) says:

    I am not surprised to see Dennis excell in his assignment with IMCOM. I had the honor of serving with him at the begining of both our military careers and witnessed the begining of a true professional. I am honored to have been with him through good and bad of lifes challenges and marvel at his spirit and positive nature. He has always set the "Benchmark" for all to achieve. Dennis Drake, I salute you this day and always!!!

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