Col. (Dr.) Michael Wirt, Commander, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas presents the 2014 USAISR Civilian of the Year, Stephanie Truss, with a certificate during the command awards ceremony Feb. 20.
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
27 FEBRUARY 2015
The safety and occupational health manager at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) was selected as the 2014 Civilian of the Year. Stephanie Truss, who hails from Houston, has been at the Institute since 2007 where she was first assigned as a medical laboratory noncommissioned officer while on active duty in the Army. Shortly after retiring from the Army in 2011 Truss accepted her current job as a contract employee which was transferred to a civil service position in 2012.
As the safety and environmental advisor to the commander, Truss said she feels honored and privileged to being selected as the Civilian of the Year.
“I’m not really sure why I was selected as the Civilian of the Year, but if it could be a shared award, then know that I’m sharing it with everyone at the ISR,” said Truss. “If it were not for everyone at this Institute I would not be here, therefore this is our award.”
Under Truss’ guidance, the USAISR is on track to earn an unprecedented Army Safety in Excellence streamer for the third year in a row. The streamer is awarded to Army units without any Class A or B accident for 12 months; have 100 percent completion of Composite Risk Management training; and completion of the Army Readiness Assessment Program within the last 24 months. The USAISR is in the top 25 percentile of safe worksites within the Army.
“I love being able to help people in any method that I can and what a better way than assisting them in keeping safe,” Truss said.
During the last several months, Truss has diligently being promoting and implementing the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). VPP is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration program that identifies worksites that exhibit exemplary safety performance beyond compliance. Truss hopes to move into the next stage of the VPP by earning the Star Site recognition—the highest level of recognition.
“Through the support of the VPP Communicator Team and the involvement of the entire staff, my short-term goal is to complete the VPP final stage with flying colors,” she said. “My long-term goal is to attain a master’s in occupational health and safety and to continue to foster a safe working environment to maintain VPP standards in the upcoming years.”
Truss said that she enjoys her job because she is able to work toward making a difference every day, but her job doesn’t come without challenges.
“Promoting change in a positive way is challenging,” said Truss. “Often we get very complacent in doing things and when changes must occur being understanding but yet effective in the implementation and enforcement of the changes can also be interesting.”
Truss’ advice to anyone who would like to be selected as the Civilian of the Year is to always work hard and do the right thing.
“Work knowing that your efforts are noticed and appreciated,” she said. “The reward is not always an award, it can simply be a meaningful ‘thank you.’”