Sam Perez
A member of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) for the last 21 years, Sam Perez was the only U.S. Army civilian to earn the 2010 LATINA Style Distinguished Service Award.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - A Picatinny engineer was recognized by the Department of Defense this month in the nation's capital for his lasting accomplishments both in the lab and in his community.

A member of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) for the last 21 years, Sam Perez was the only U.S. Army civilian to earn the 2010 LATINA Style Distinguished Service Award.

The LATINA Style award honors Latino military members and civilians who support the DoD mission in overseas contingency operations, while also demonstrating role model qualities and core values of their respective agencies and communities. The award is presented to one service member and one civilian from each branch of military service.

With a history at Picatinny Arsenal for more than two decades, Perez, a native of Puerto Rico, has worked his way through the ranks, from an entry-level mechanical engineer in 1989 all the way up to his current position as Supervisory Chief for the Illuminating and Smoke Mortar Cartridges Branch, which he began in 2006.

In his current role, he leads a team of 24 engineers and administrative personnel who work to deliver quality mortar ammunition to U.S. Soldiers and Marines. But in his off-duty hours, he is committed to another cause - serving the Hispanic Community.

"Providing service to others has always been part of my life," Perez said. "God has blessed me with a successful career, time and talents and I think it is important to use them for the benefit of others wherever I go."

Among his growing list of community contributions, Perez has been actively involved in various New Jersey communities through Butler United Methodist Church (Butler) and Trinity United Methodist Church (Hackettstown).

He has served in numerous worship and leadership teams, participated in mission trips sponsored by the churches, and is part of the Committee on Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church at the state level. As a certified local lay speaker, he leads multiple bible studies and serves as a translator during church mission trips.

He also teaches Spanish as a Second Language classes, which helps to build bridges of communication and understanding between the Anglo and Hispanic members of the church and surrounding communities, he said. From January 2007 to June 2008, he was the Coordinator of the Eirene Immigration Center at the Butler UMC, which strives to provide legal services to undocumented immigrants.

In the last 10 years, he has provided opportunities to the Hispanic community through these churches that would have otherwise not been possible, due to his commitment to translate, teach, and mentor them both spiritually and socially.

"I'd like to thank my parents and family for their guidance and support throughout my life and career," he said. "Also I'm thankful for my former and current supervisors for the opportunities they gave me, so I could become the Army leader I am today."

<i>Picatinny Arsenal is a Department of Defense center of excellence for the research, development, engineering and fielding of advanced armaments and weapon systems for all branches of the U.S. military. Known as the "Home of American Firepower," the New Jersey team of 5,000-strong provides a range of innovative technologies to support and protect today's warfighters. Learn more at</i> <a href="http://www.pica.army.mil/PicatinnyPublic/index.asp" target="_blank">www.pica.army.mil</a>

Page last updated Tue September 28th, 2010 at 11:55