The WSMR Command Group is asking the community for help in maintaining a sense of pride in the installation by asking individuals to clean up their surrounding areas. Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, WSMR Command Sergeant Major, is spearheading the initiative and working together with several WSMR organizations to ensure the installation starts the year off on a clean note.
“The biggest issue is just having personal pride in your equipment. You’ll take better care of it. We need to learn to operate well through our fiscally restrained environment,” Sellers said. “Have pride in the installation and the workplace. Don’t leave trash for our customers to see.”
One of the major issues the command group is tackling is the removal of abandoned vehicles. Sellers said there are abandoned vehicles on the installation that have been stagnant for more than a year. Abandoned vehicles do not only cost time and money to remove, they also pose a safety threat to the surrounding community.
“Safety is number one. With all of the kids on the installation we don’t anybody getting trapped while playing hide and seek by hiding in the trunk and trapping themselves in the car,” said Capt. Tom Benavidez, Department of Emergency Services Special Operations Branch. “It’s also an eyesore. There’s no upkeep on the vehicle. Sometimes they get vandalized; they get flat tires, or broken windows.”
According to Cpl. Wesley Dickey, Directorate of Emergency Services Traffic Section, once a vehicle is identified as abandoned a DD Form 2504 is placed on the vehicle. The owners have three days to respond once the form is placed on the vehicle, before the vehicle gets impounded. Once the vehicle is impounded, owners will then receive a letter from the impound company. If the owners do not respond to the letter the company then becomes the legal owner of the vehicle.
Benavidez said that at one point they had eight abandoned vehicles on the lot in front of the barracks on the corner of Headquarters Avenue and Rock Island Avenue. He said with the implementation of the policy they were able to remove five of the abandoned vehicles from the lot. There are still three abandoned vehicles on the lot. In some cases, Soldiers deploy after having purchased a new vehicle or are sometimes transferred to different units or transferred out of the Army and have no way of getting their vehicles in a timely manner. Benavidez said they do try to work with individuals if they have been able to successfully contact them and the vehicle is up to date on registration.
“We don’t want White Sands to become an abandoned car lot,” Benavidez said.
The second major issue Sellers said he has seen throughout the installation is a lack of sense of pride. Sellers said he has documented a wide array of equipment that was not properly disposed of and at times, was just left in the middle of the desert.
“A better sense of awareness and pride in your workplace is what we’re trying to promote,” Sellers said.
The Command Group is working with organizations like the Department of Public Works and the Logistics Readiness Center to develop a plan of action for a cleanup day set to take place in the spring. The cleanup day will be run much like the cleanup days that took place in November.
In the meantime, Sellers is asking individuals to have pride in their work area and clean up their surrounding areas. Ideally, organizations should dispose of equipment that is no longer usable in the proper way, to include the upcoming cleanup day.
“Everybody should take the time and look at their areas to see what can be fixed. Let’s leverage those resources to make our work environment more suitable,” Sellers added.