“Welcome to American’s Joint Base, Ma’am!”
It is the standard greeting I receive every morning when I drive through the gates at Joint Base Lewis McChord on my way to my job at the Stone Education Center. I realize that it’s the soldier’s assignment to man the gates; turn around those who shouldn’t enter, refer those who have a need to be on base but need to check-in with the visitor’s center first to go in the proper direction, and provide a deterrent to those who may wish to do others harm, but this positive greeting sets the tone for a productive day for myself, and I’m certain, for others.
No matter the weather, and this past week it has been below freezing conditions, no matter how many are in the queue waiting to get through the gate, no matter how their scanning equipment is functioning, these soldiers put enthusiasm into their brief interactions with those funneling through on their way to their roles on base. My own “good morning” to them, as I present my identification, is returned with warm smiles in their eyes (yes, the mask mandate hides the ones on their lips). Their greetings, outgoing and professional, demonstrate their commitment and pride in their service. It provides an extra incentive to do my upmost to follow their leads, to greet those who approach the ACES counseling desk with matching positivity, while providing support in reaching their educational goals.
My challenge to you, is to put that same effort into your own initial interactions with others. Make your greetings the kind that encourages those you meet to have their best day possible. Positivity is contagious, and those soldiers on gate duty at JBLM prove it each and every day.