The International Military Community Executives’ Association (IMCEA) has announced the winners of the 2021 Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) Awards and Scholarships. Three Coast Guard members are being honored for their outstanding contributions. The winners are:
Capt. Jeffrey T. Eldridge received the 2021 MWR Leadership Award for his pivotal role in improving the quality of life across the Coast Guard workforce. Eldridge shepherded efforts to establish a MWR Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) program that allocated over $4 million to a range of projects. These included weight room and sports court renovations and acquisitions of new play equipment for children at child development centers (CDCs). Additionally, Eldridge managed critical commercial partnerships with USAA and GEICO supporting cutters in the fleet.
He is especially proud of his role in facilitating the renovations of the basketball court at Sector Long Island Sound, Connecticut. Seeing the state of the court “was the seed that got me going,” Eldridge reflected.
He credits great teamwork in his office and in the field as the root of CIF’s achievements. “We provide a lot of funding, but the hard work and success of the program is the leadership in the field,” Eldridge said. “My team created the governance, pushed funds, coordinated with the commands and worked to get reimbursements at the end of the year – the success was in the details that they’ve handled.”
His dedication and exemplary leadership will improve the lives of Coast Guard members and their families for years to come.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen Bishop, retired, received the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award for his exceptional leadership and management in strengthening morale during the pandemic. When the pandemic hit MWR businesses and units hard, Bishop helped ensure that nonappropriated fund personnel (NAF) continued to receive paychecks. With port calls restricted for public health reasons, he worked with the Coast Guard Foundation to arrange for every cutter on the East Coast to receive funds for safe pier gatherings to boost morale. Also with the aid of the Coast Guard Foundation, he arranged the delivery of over 500 morale items including dive equipment, golf simulators, crawfish pots, and smokers.
Bishop overcame major logistical challenges due to the pandemic and provided exceptional support to the Coast Guard community.
“It was really neat that someone actually put me in for it,” he reflected on receiving the Rubenstein Memorial Award. “I’m very humbled.” Bishop’s dedication to caring for the workforce raised the spirits of countless service members during a difficult time.
Cavin Webb received the Frederick J. McKenney Lifetime Spirit Award for his accomplishments as customer service attendant at Base Kodiak, Alaska. As the pandemic upended daily life across the Coast Guard and around the world, Webb identified new ways to keep Base Kodiak clean and safe. News of the award “came as a shock,” he said. “When I got the phone call, it was just amazing.”
When the pandemic created new challenges for personnel at Base Kodiak, Webb sought a creative solution. “My main goal was to figure out a way that we could still at least remain open,” he explained. “I did research on the fogging system the gym ended up purchasing, and then set up the schedule to keep it clean, so we could at least provide an avenue for people to still work out during the pandemic.” Webb was especially proud to see the gym reopen after its long closure. He cherishes the memory of watching members return to the upgraded gym and “seeing their happiness come back.”
Thanks to Webb’s leadership and initiative, the well-equipped gym will continue to support the health and well-being of Coast Guardsmen and Guardswomen on Base Kodiak.
The IMCEA MWR awards will be presented locally at each command. MWR awards recognize outstanding contributions to morale in six categories based on unit size and status. Commands must submit nominations to the Community Services Command (CSC) by Sept. 9. Winners are eligible for certificates of recognition and a range of cash prizes. For more details on the awards and application requirements, click here. To learn more about this year’s winners and the IMCEA’s work, please visit https://imcea.org/.
For more information, please visit the IMCEA website or view the IMCEA MWR Awards and application requirements.