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Nate Grunert (second from left), along with board members, attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Rock Island, Illinois on April 28. (Photo courtesy of Captain Nate Grunert, CSA)
(Photo credit: Major Jackeline Velazquez Rosario)


A CSA officer is making a difference in the LGBTQ community

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Capt. Nate Grunert, Budget Officer, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, stands outside the Moline Gate on River Drive in Moline, Illinois, where the city put up flags in honor of Pride Month June 12. (Photo by Major Jackeline Velazquez, CSA Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Major Jackeline Velazquez Rosario)


ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — Many service members seek volunteer opportunities and make a difference in the communities in which they serve. Capt. Nate Grunert, budget officer at US Army Sustainment Command, is no different.

After arriving at Rock Island Arsenal in 2021, he came across a newly created organization supporting LGBTQ youth and it was obvious to him that he wanted to help this small organization move in the right direction.

The organization is a nonprofit community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people on Rock Island whose goal is to provide a non-judgmental, safe, and reliable community center for LGBTQ people to reduce any sense of discrimination. or isolation.

Grunert learned the importance of volunteerism and selfless service from his older brother, Roy Anderson, an Air Force master sergeant.

“I try to volunteer in every duty station. I came across the organization and read about its mission, so I applied to volunteer,” Grunert said. “I didn’t expect to see something like this in a small rural area so I was immediately drawn to them.”

Grunert, an openly gay officer, particularly liked that it was new and was supportive of their mission. He felt he could relate to the organization and that is something he could have benefited from at a young age.

“It’s important not only to have a safe place, but also a way to help families and friends understand what’s going on with their loved ones.”

The organization provides a variety of services such as community multi-age and gender groups, individual, couple and family counseling, educational training, workshops, a library and computer lab, and a transgender clothing exchange.

Grunert volunteered to help with accounting and tax policy procedures because, as a non-profit organization, they were still new to the financial process. His goal was to help market the organization so they would receive grants and donations.

“There are a handful of state and local businesses contributing funds and I wanted them to see that we are good stewards of their money and that it is being used wisely,” Grunert said.

Chase Norris, the organization’s executive director, described Grunert as a “huge asset” to the organization.

“We are very grateful to have Nate on our team,” he said. “Not only has he taken care of our internal bookkeeping and administrative side, but he is at every event early to help with setup and stays to clean up and is always ready to help wherever we need him. He is really an asset to the team.”

His work has been strictly voluntary and he receives no monetary or other compensation.

Grunert is not only pleased with the changes the company is making toward inclusiveness and diversity, he is also pleased with how the military has progressed in this area.

In September 2011, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was officially repealed, allowing LGBTQ people to openly serve in the armed forces.

While serving in Germany in 2017, Grunert felt very happy in his unit and was comfortable with the climate created by his chain of command. It gave her the courage and strength to come out of the closet.

He remembers a time when there was an unpleasant incident and his squadron commander quickly sorted it out.

“The command recognized the work ethic and that’s what really matters,” Grunert said.

He believes the Army is moving in the right direction to ensure representation matters and while change may be slow, it is definitely happening.