USACE Galveston District earns PRSA Silver Anvil awards

Published June 16, 2014
GALVESTON, Texas (June 16, 2014) –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District was recognized with two 2014 Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in the Multicultural Public Relations and the Public Service categories for its “Selling water safety to save lives: Army engineers collaborate to combat water-related fatalities” campaign to promote water safety and prevent drownings along the Texas coast. 

The campaign was selected from among 156 programs nominated for a Silver Anvil Award, the most prestigious award for outstanding achievement in public relations. The announcement was made during the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony at the AXA Equitable Center in New York City June 12.

According to the winning entry, the district launched an aggressive water safety community outreach and public information campaign to reduce public fatalities, educate those who use its facilities, enhance the commitment of community leaders to promote learning to swim and wearing lifejackets. The innovative campaign included partnering with multicultural media outlets and national organizations to maximize outreach efforts to exceed campaign objectives and contribute to zero water-related fatalities in the district.

“We collaborated with key influencers to raise awareness of the district’s water safety program; earned free media coverage; developed an online presence to engage with a diverse audience and share information; distributed materials and organized and/or attended numerous water safety events throughout 2013,” said Sandra Arnold, chief of the district’s Public Affairs Office.

Additionally, staff identified community concerns and developed relationships with a Spanish language broadcast television network to bring attention to preventable deaths occurring within minority communities.

“Our partners Telemundo, Safe Kids Greater Houston, Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark, Houston Sail and Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard and Bass Pro Shops were instrumental in helping to convey the importance of learning to swim and promoting our water safety messages,” said Arnold. “The ultimate measurement of success for the campaign is that there were zero fatalities at Galveston District facilities during this period and that our program is now used as a framework for others to model their water safety campaigns after.”

Bestowed annually since 1944, the Silver Anvil Award is meant to symbolize the forging of public opinion and recognizes outstanding professional achievement in 16 categories and over 60 sub-categories. Entries are judged on their research, planning, execution and evaluation, while also taking factors such as creativity, ethics and budget into consideration.

“The PRSA Silver Anvils continue to set the benchmark for excellence in the public relations profession and we saw very high levels of innovation, creativity and sophistication in this year’s entries,” said PRSA 2014 chair Joe Cohen, APR. “Some of this year’s campaigns will help set new best practices as PR professionals continue to capitalize upon the opportunities presented within today’s transformative media environment while staying true to enduring principles of PR.”

Learn more about the district’s Water Safety Program at Find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter,

Release no. 14-027