By Denise Prieto Nelson, Special to the Fort Bliss Bugle:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 15, 2018)
Jeremy Gordon is on a mission to help Fort Bliss go green.
“The (digital) camo days are done,” he said. “We are back to green and Fort Bliss is going to do this in more ways than one.”
The former Army sergeant, Recycle Hero and trainer for the Fort Bliss Recycling Program now works for Cherokee Nation Management and Consulting, a contractor under the Environmental Division of the Directorate of Public Works. He holds the title of environmental officer training and compliance coordinator, and wears various hats for this position, evincing the hero qualities he employed for three years under the base’s recycling program as the Recycle Hero – a role that came with a full-fledged super hero costume.
“I make sure environmental officers will now be trained not just with the information and tools to be compliant. They will receive instruction on the psychology of today’s Army and change,” Gordon said. “When anyone speaks about the environment, it’s all about changing the hearts and minds of us all. It’s our goal to help them be better prepared to do that when they go return to their units.”
An important aspect of his role is ensuring everyone on the installation minds their environmental Ps and Qs.
“This position was started in November. It was created in order to address the (role of the) environmental officer and to have someone to work with them directly to maximize participation,” he said. “Environmental officers are the eyes and ears for the commanders to make sure everyone is in environmental compliance.”
An Army regulation issued in 2007 delineates Gordon’s job, and through it, he plans to improve environmental compliance at Fort Bliss as much as possible.
“Instead of it being ‘OK. You guys are coming up on inspection time, you better make sure everything’s cleaned up,’ it should be where everything’s that way all the time,” Gordon said. “The idea is with me coming in now, I’ve redone the whole setup for how the training is actually implemented here.”
He focuses on the “what” of the program, as well as the how. The emphasis on equipping environmental officers with the tools necessary to do their jobs runs deeper than just checking off boxes on compliance lists. Gordon is determined to change the hearts and minds of his peers for them to gain a broader perspective of what it means to pursue practices that lead to more environmentally friendly behaviors.
“When you’re talking about anything environmental, it’s a little more than just trying to get people to comply,” he said. “It’s a whole lot of trying to get them in the mindset that protecting the nation starts right here at home with taking care of what we have for future generations.”
Under the directive of his position, Gordon focuses on 15 environmental compliance and conservation programs. He pointed out these programs go beyond the obvious, such as recycling, proper hazardous materials containment, cleaning up oil spills and saving water. Rather, the scope is extended to include maintenance of the natural habitat on which the installation sits, including structures and actual archaeologically significant sites.
While he pushes forward on his mission to implement sound environmental practices, Gordon remains optimistic his “bubble of influence” will continue to swell.
“We all have a bubble of influence and we can create it to be whatever we want it to be,” he said. “The only thing we can do is keep trying to extend that bubble.”
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