Of the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the United Way, all founded in the latter half of the 1800s, this Army organization is the baby of the group, but it’s done some grown up things, and when you stick around for half a century, there’s cause for celebration.
So, guess who’s turning 50?
Founded in 1965 by Lt. Col. Emma M. Baird, Army Community Service long upholds its mission to provide comprehensive services to support Soldiers, their Families and Department of Army civilians.
From town halls facilitated by the Army Family Action Plan to summer camp with the Exceptional Family Member Program; from relocation readiness to Family readiness groups, ACS steps up to meet the needs of the Army Family. Its Lending Closet, which was a beginning ACS service, continues today to provide household items to Families moving to or from Army installations. New programs, new locations and new services have been added over the years, but the overall mission remains the same.
Barbara Trower-Simpkins, ACS director, said she is excited about the upcoming birthday celebration. “We always look forward to celebrating milestone birthdays at ACS and hope our Families will come out to celebrate with us,” Trower-Simpkins said.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, ACS and the Paraglide are partnering to introduce a puzzle challenge to readers. Two pieces of a puzzle will be hidden in every issue of the Paraglide from Jan. 29 to July 16, equaling a total of 50 pieces symbolic of ACS’ 50 years. Readers are asked to cut out the pieces to complete the puzzle, with ACS awarding 50 prizes at its celebratory bash in late July.
“It will be a Family event,” said Cathy Mansfield, ACS installation volunteer services coordinator.
The celebration will likely include Family activities such as games, bounce houses, entertainment, and birthday cake! More details will be published as plans come together.
As stipulated in Army Regulation 608-1, the following persons are eligible for ACS services:
Active-duty and retired military personnel and their Families
Members of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve, when on active duty and during post deployment (not to exceed one year after deployment) and their Family members.
Army appropriated funds and nonappropriated funds civilian employees and their Family members
Family members of prisoners of war or personnel missing in action
Surviving Family members of military personnel who died while on active duty.
Regardless, Fort Bragg ACS will continue to meet the needs of those who seek their services.
“Our focus is making sure our Soldiers and Families have the resources they need and know how to access those resources,” Trower-Simpkins said. “The goal for ACS as a whole is to help our Families be more resilient.”
Fort Bragg ACS has six offices located on and off post, according to its website, and remains the place to go for help and answers. Its main office is the third floor of the Soldier Support Center on Normandy Drive. For a complete list of locations and services, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/acs or call 396-8682.