Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) now has its first permanent director in more than a year, and acting MWR director Lisa Jansen-Rees is back to her old job as Army Community Service director.
Darryle Jones’s first day on the job was Nov. 14. Prior to arriving at Fort Sill, he had served 21 months as chief of community recreation in the MWR department at Camp Zama, Japan.
“It was a great, rewarding experience, but I can already tell that my time here is just going to be as challenging and rewarding as my time over there in the Pacific,” he said.
Jones has been an MWR professional since 1989. His father is retired military, and so the family traveled widely while Jones was growing up.
His father’s branch was Air Defense Artillery, and his last assignment was at Fort Bliss, Texas. So that’s where the family settled when Jones’s father retired in 1985.
Jones’s brothers did go into the military, but he chose to serve the military in a different capacity, starting his career at Child and Youth Services at Fort Bliss upon graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso. He worked there for 18 years prior to moving over to Community Recreation programmings and did that for a number of years in different assignments.
“Whether it be Italy, Belgium, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., or Fort Rucker, Ala., I’ve been able to travel the world with MWR and experience lots of new things, and at the same time pick up some valuable information that would benefit the Fort Sill community,” he said.
What made him apply for a job with MWR back in 1989?
“Oddly enough, I missed traveling. You know, when you’re a military youth, you travel with your parents, and at that time we were accustomed to moving every 3-4 years. And so, when we stopped moving in 1985, I still had the urge to work and travel as I had been accustomed to before my father retired,” he said.
In 2020 he’ll have been with MWR 31 years.
“I’m still with the organization, still proud to call MWR the best place that I’ve ever worked and still love serving the soldiers and families,” Jones said.
The job here was posted a number of times before he actually applied. He kept receiving the emails from ID Training, and his family was on vacation when he got one last posting.
“I figured, ‘Well, if not me, then who?’ And so I applied for the job here. I was fortunate enough to get an interview several months later. And then subsequent to that, I got hired,” he said.
He brings with him his wife, Kerrie, who’s in the banking profession; their younger son, Jaxon, 15, and their daughter, Kaitlyn, 13. Another son, Jordan, 27, makes his home in El Paso.
“We hit the ground running. We’re very excited for the opportunity to be here in the Fort Sill community, and looking forward to contributing to the great things this organization does,” Jones said.
At the end of October MWR had a staff of 423. Jones said his biggest priority as director is providing programming to the soldiers and the families of Fort Sill.
“In order to do that, we’re going to have to hire the people and put them in the right places. And so I’m looking at hiring a special events coordinator, looking at hiring some other people that could help me accomplish the mission of ensuring that the right programs and services are available inside the gates as opposed to outside the gates,” Jones said.
The special events coordinator will be the lead of his delivery system team, working with Child and Youth Services, the Patriot Club and the Community Recreation officer to coordinate different functions with the pertinent agencies. The special events coordinator will also work with the Fort Sill Garrison and the Fires Center of Excellence on taskings that involve MWR. That would include the Fort Sill Golf Course, Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area (LETRA) and Twin Oaks Bowling Center.
“We’ve got the ‘big four’ in MWR: Child and Youth Services, the Business Operation Division, the Community Recreation Division and Army Community Service,” Jones said. “Now we have a fifth division, which is our support services team, and those are our financial manager folks.”
Jones said another of his goals is to have a concert in the community between now and the end of summer. He’s speaking with MWR’s higher headquarters to see what some possibilities are in bringing some talent here, and he’s also reached out to a promoter who’s looking for opportunities to give back to the military.