USACE Galveston District's Public Affairs Office wins tops honors

Published Feb. 21, 2012

GALVESTON, Texas (Feb. 21, 2012) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Public Affairs Office captured one first-place award, a second-place award and a third-place award in the 2011 USACE Herbert A. Kassner Public Affairs Competition.

Public affairs staff earned a first-place unit award for outstanding achievements in the realm of community relations for its water safety campaign, a second-place individual honor awarded to Deputy Public Affairs Officer Isidro Reyna for outstanding print journalism among Army public affairs civilians and a third-place community relations unit award for its Texas City Ship Channel Deepening Project and Celebration special event.

“We are incredibly proud to have our own public affairs team recognized amongst the best in the Corps,” said USACE Galveston District Commander Col. Christopher W. Sallese. "Winning these well-deserved honors underscores the team’s ability to meet the challenges of our diverse organization, and is testament to their professional commitment to execute the corps’ public affairs mission."

The first-place award in community relations recognizes the district’s aggressive water safety community outreach and public information campaign, launched in 2011, following a number of water-related fatalities at USACE recreational facilities nationwide.

“Our team’s goal was to educate those who use corps facilities, enhance the commitment of community leaders to promote public safety and reduce public fatalities by 50 percent from the previous fiscal year,” said Sandra Arnold, USACE Galveston District chief of public affairs. “The innovative campaign included partnering with nationally recognized water-safety organizations and using social media to maximize outreach efforts to ultimately exceed campaign objectives and contribute to a zero increase in water-related fatalities in the district.”

The water safety team consisted of Natural Resource Manager Richard Long, Park Ranger Kristine Brown, Colorado River Lockmaster Simon DeSoto, Reyna and Arnold.

Reyna received a second-place award as part of the Moss-Holland Civilian Print Journalist of the Year contest, which recognizes outstanding print journalism among Army public affairs civilians.

The award is named in honor of John Moss and Peggy Holland, civilian journalists who worked for the Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion and died during the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal OfficeBuilding in Oklahoma City, Okla..

A third-place unit award was received in the special event community relations category, recognizing Project Manager Sharon Tirpak, Reyna, Arnold and the city of Texas City, for their efforts to showcase the completion of the $75 million Texas City ship channel deepening project and its economic benefits to the nation.

The USACE Galveston District and city of Texas City co-hosted a Texas-sized celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2011 with U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison serving as the honorary guest and keynote speaker to mark the opening of one of the nation’s most critical shipping waterways.

The USACE Galveston District’s Water Safety Campaign, along with other Kassner contest winners, will compete alongside first-place winners of other major Army commands in the Department of the Army's 2011 Major Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Communication Competition.

For more information about the competition, visit To learn more about the USACE Galveston District, visit Find us on Facebook, or or follow us on Twitter,

Release no. 12-009