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ACS inviting community to assess their services
Fort Stewart ACS staff are asking for help from the military community to take a needs assessment survey that will help them determine what new programs or services soldiers, family members, retirees and DoD civilians are looking for.

Fort Stewart’s Army Community Services is asking the military community for assistance in providing more and better services by taking part in a needs assessment.

According to its website, ACS assists installation commanders in maintaining readiness of soldiers, their families and the community through development, coordination and delivery of services that promote self-reliance, resiliency and stability.

“Right now, Army Community Services (here) is in the process of going through our re-accreditation process,” said Deborah Riley, acting family advocacy program manager. “A part of our re-accreditation process is that we do a needs assessment with our military community.”

She defined “military community” to include active-duty soldiers, family members, retirees and Department of Defense employees. She said ACS needs the community to participate in a survey found online at

“We need the community to participate in the survey and tell us where we’re falling short, where we need to improve — whatever they see that we need to do better,” she said. “We want to do a better job in serving our soldiers, family members, (Department of the Army) civilians and retirees.”

Riley and family advocacy specialists Emory Paxton and Vandowyn “Mimi” Johnson assist soldiers and their families with issues like domestic violence and child abuse. They not only work with families caught up in this abuse, but they also help others to identify and report abuse.

Victor Garcia, exceptional family member program manager, helps military families with special-needs members, whether the need is physical or mental. He works with a number of other agencies, including the EFMP department at Winn Army Community Hospital. Garcia said criteria for EFMP enrollment include the need for regular therapy, on-going treatment or having an individual education program at school.

Other ACS specialists include Relocation Program Manager Linda McKnight, Deployment Readiness Specialist Oscar Edwards, Master Resilience Trainer and Marketing Officer Chester “Beau” Bradley and Financial Readiness Program Manager Stacy Johnston.

Johnston said financial readiness focuses on financial education, counseling and assistance. She helps young soldiers, and family members especially, in developing a budget, which helps stabilize that family. The survey is designed to help her understand if new classes or programs are needed that would better prepare those families for making major purchases like a car or home and especially deployment.

“The survey is online this week and next week and I believe a few weeks after that,” Johnston said. “You can link to it on the Fort Stewart website … and Facebook. A lot of units have put a link on their unit Facebook page … We have mobile teams that are out at areas on the installation like the (Post Exchange) in the afternoons. We’re trying to encourage people to participate.”

Johnston said the survey takes 8-10 minutes to complete. A large portion of the survey asks demographic questions like whether the participant is a soldier, family member, DoD civilian or retiree. It also asks about gender and age group then it focuses on the ACS services currently used by the participant, allowing participants space to write in the service or services he or she would like ACS to offer.

“We program (services) based on trends that we see and what we think our clients want or need,” she said. “(But) that’s without them telling us what they really want or need. We really don’t know (unless they tell us).”

For more information about ACS, call 767-1597.

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