AFD Luncheon honors APG troops, civilians
May 24, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - In its 36th year of honoring the nation's military, the Harford County Chamber of Commerce recognized the Aberdeen Proving Ground Noncommissioned Officer, Soldier and Family of the Year and a Hero on the Home Front during the Military Appreciation Luncheon at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood May 16.
"This is a special day for the chamber because it gives us a chance to recognize those individuals, both military and civilian from Aberdeen Proving Ground who serve our country with honor and distinction," said co-chair of the chamber's Military Affairs Committee Bill Suchting.
The 2013 APG NCO of the year is Sgt. 1st Class Kishann T. Smith from the Fires Evaluation Directorate of the Army Evaluation Center, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. Smith said the award represents a collective effort from Soldiers in his organization who helped him get ready for the selection board. He noted that ATEC Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Fritzsching and AEC Command Sgt. Maj. Carlton Handy helped organize study groups so he would be well prepared.
"It feels great to represent APG as the 2013 NCO of the Year," Smith said. "I am up for the challenge."
The 2013 Soldier of the Year is the recently promoted Sgt. Adeniji A. Adedeji from the 20th Support Command (CBRNE). Adedeji thanked the other Soldiers in his organization, particularly Sgt. Maj. Merika Barnes and Master Sgt. Rebecca Franco for motivation and encouragement while he prepared for the April 26 selection board.
"I feel honored to receive this recognition," he said.
APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory R. McClinton and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin presented Smith and Adedeji with Army Commendation Medals. They also received gifts from on and off-post organizations. During the next year, both will serve as APG ambassadors during various post and community events.
The 2013 Family of the Year is the Family of Sgt. 1st Class Alvin Manglona. Manglona, a senior military evaluator with ATEC's Army Evaluation Center, accepted the award with his wife Tara. He serves as a volunteer sponsor for noncommissioned officers who are newly assigned to APG and he plays unit sports. Manglona's wife Tara volunteers an average of 30 hours per week at the APG Army Community Service office. Also active in the APG community are their five children, Tavina May, Talyna Marie, Taevin Michael, Aiden and Alvin who play sports, earn high grades in school and volunteer.
"We are honored to be part of this beautiful community," said Manglona. "Hooah!"
"I enjoy volunteering and meeting others," added Tara. "We have been married for eleven years [and] I have embraced the military lifestyle."
McClinton thanked local politicians and business leaders for their continued support of the APG community. He presented the Heroes on the Homefront certificate to outgoing Army Alliance President Barney Michael for shaping workforce initiatives to support APG as the past President of the Susquehanna Workforce Network. He was also instrumental in establishing the Boy Scout STEM Badge day at APG.
Highlights of the program included the singing of the national anthem by Freestate ChalleNGe Cadet Donnell McCord, the invocation by Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Hester and remarks by the guest speaker, Dale Beatty, co-founder of Purple Heart Homes.
Purple Heart Homes is a non-profit organization that helps reintegrate disabled veterans into the community by adapting an already owned home, building a home from the ground up, or adapting and modifying a foreclosed home.
"For all the Soldiers out there, don't take for granted the civilian support in your community," Beatty said. "I can see in this room that they love you, they know you are a huge part in their community."