AURORA, Colo. –
More than 2,600 Army Reserve Soldiers count on the human resources professionals of the 88th Readiness Division Colorado Reserve Personnel Action Center to ensure their personnel readiness documents are processed in a timely and accurate manner.
The staff of 17, scattered across four satellite offices, works odd hours and during battle assembly weekends to maintain the readiness of Army Reserve Soldiers up and down the front range of the Rocky Mountain region.
“Teamwork,” said John Firneno, the RPAC supervisor for CO128 HUB, when discussing what makes his team successful in meeting the needs of these Soldiers. “We make sure that everyone gets enough work. We don’t try to pile everything on one person. It’s worked really well.”
Positions within the RPAC are filled through the Military Technician program, which requires maintaining membership in the Army Reserve as a condition of employment. This dual status knowledge means the employees know what it means to take care of Soldiers, because they are Soldiers themselves.
“We are also military, we go on orders and then other Soldiers have, usually around [annual training] time and drill weekend, want more support,” said Sujit Dixit, satellite supervisor. “We try to give them as much help as we can. This weekend we had seven of us working drill weekend. We gathered from other centers and helped them out.”
That assistance during battle assemblies or during annual training often requires the staff be flexible, but it’s something they all said they do because they know how important it is to help Soldiers.
“We usually work with units and I usually go to the drill weekend to talk to the units to tell them what we do,” Dixit said. “Commanders usually change pretty often, or they’re deploying and they have a lot of questions. Some things, if you do face-to-face it’s a lot better and they have a face to the name. We usually work it out and we give them other options.”
Paperwork is the main content pushed through the RPAC. This includes promotion packets, records updates, pay documents, transfer packets and a myriad other personnel actions.
“What’s enjoyable about it is that knowing that I do have an impact on all these Soldiers and their careers helping them to be able to progress, making sure their records are updated, if they have any issues, I’m someone they can come to to help get those issues resolved,” said Brandon Pierce, military personnel and administrative assistant, Colorado RPAC.
One of those 2,600 supported Soldiers is Spc. Raymond Arellano, a dental specialist with the 143rd Dental Company (Area Support), who is currently on a one-year active duty for operational support tour assisting with readiness for his unit.
“They’re very attentive,” he said. “Today I reached out if they were going to be in, due to weather and being in here over the weekend, they were able to get someone in to get me taken care of. They understand my capabilities and they were able to get someone in.”
Additionally, the RPAC provides training and assistance to help Soldiers like Arellano take care of the Soldiers within their unit.
“Working with this RPAC has been a tremendous help for me with the new staff,” Arellano said. “We will come in and ask for help on a simple task and they go above and beyond. It’s not their job, or their job title, they’re more than willing to help us get the task done is tremendous.”
Taking care of their fellow Soldiers is at the heart of what this RPAC does and why they will continue to go the extra step to help.
“It’s more of a feel good thing, just knowing that you were able to help someone, even if it’s not necessarily something that was in your wheelhouse, just being able to provide that Soldier, even if you don’t know the answers directly, going and finding that information to be able to help that Soldier, it feels good,” Pierce said.