Best of the Best' honored at 2010 Installation Award Banquet
March 7, 2011
By Amy Sunseri
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Each year the Fort Huachuca community honors individuals working on post who have consistently performed beyond the call of duty. The installation awards banquet was held Friday evening at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre. Approximately 250 people attrended, ranging from Soldiers and their families, Department of Defense civilians, friends and local and state dignitaries.
The winners have shown overall dedication to duty, and are considered individuals who have stood out above and beyond their peers during the course of the calendar year. Many have dedicated hundreds of hours to their local community.
"The combined team here at Fort Huachuca is the best in the Army. The dedicated efforts of individuals being honored here tonight keep the installation and our partner organizations synchronized for success," stated Col. Timothy Faulkner, Fort Huachuca garrison commander, in his opening remarks.
Anyone working on Fort Huachuca is eligible to win. Soldiers and noncommissioned officers go through a board selection process starting at the unit level and compete against other Soldiers to become Soldier of the Month. The winner moves on to the Soldier of the Quarter board and then to Soldier of the Year. The Marine, Air Force NCO and recruiters of the year are nominated by someone in their unit and then go on to a board for selection. The "civilian of the month" is nominated and selected monthly on a formal memorandum. After 12 months, the winner for the year is selected from the 12 "civilian of the month" winners.
"They [awardees] represent the very best of Fort Huachuca. With all the excellence in the air here, it's tough to stand out. But, the individuals we are honoring tonight do it with ease," Faulkner explained.
This year's Civilian of the Year is Suzanne Ollano-Mayer, an informational specialist with Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army) G-3 operations. Ollano-Mayer has worked in civil service for 31 years.
"I'm very grateful and I'm humbled to be selected as Civilian of the Year for Fort Huachuca. I know that I was among great company and there's a lot more civilians out there who are more deserving than I, I just happened to be blessed with the selection and this award," Ollano-Mayer stated.
"The Air Force Noncommissioned Officer of the Year exemplifies the Air Force core values of 'integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do,'" stated Sgt. First Class Craig Hannum, event narrator.
Air Force NCO of the Year went to Staff Sgt. Charles Werner, 17 Training Group, Detachment 1. Werner has been stationed at Fort Huachuca for three years; he is a Manual Morse instructor for the U.S. Air Force's Detachment 1 of the 17th Training Group. Werner was not in attendance due to a six-month deployment in Afghanistan for which he volunteered. Air Force Detachment commander, Maj. Scott Morrison, accepted the award on Werner's behalf.
The awardees for Active and Reserve Recruiter of the Year both came from the Sierra Vista recruiting station of the Tucson recruiting company.
Staff Sgt. Marcus Camp was named Active Duty Recruiter of the Year. Camp currently provides the force for today's Army under the Phoenix recruiting battalion.
"I'm actually very humbled today because three years ago I actually fought tooth and nails to get out of recruiting ... Thank you everyone for this opportunity. Thank you to all the families who trusted me with their children to lead them on this path to become Army Strong," Camp stated after receiving his award.
Reserve Recruiter of the Year was awarded to Sgt. First Class Roger O'Connell. O'Connell has served in the active Army, Arizona National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves. "He has dedicated himself to safety of the people of our nation for over 26 years," Hannum said when introducing O'Connell.
"I cannot begin to tell you how blessed it's been to be a recruiter down in Sierra Vista for the last five years. Thank you very much for Fort Huachuca's leadership. It has made our recruiting station part of Fort Huachuca," O'Connell stated.
Marine of the Year went to Lance Cpl. Robert Toilolo, Marine Corps Detachment, Fort Huachuca. Toilolo started his career with the Marines while attending the American Samoa Community College. During that time, he participated in the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, which enabled him to repost to the 2nd Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Shortly after that, he was reassigned to Fort Huachuca.
"Lance Corporal Toilolo's professionalism and dedication to duty are evident in his daily performance and the quality of the administrative support provided to the unmanned aerial system instructors and students within the Marine Corps Detachment," said Capt. D.S. Williams, Marines Corps Detachment commanding officer.
Throughout 2010, instructors are evaluated at a unit level, as well as in school-wide competitions. The three finalists were formally evaluated three times during the year.
"This award [Instructor of the Year] is at the core of what we do as an institution. Excellent instruction leads to excellent adaptive Soldiers ready to take on their missions," said Beth Leeder, chief of Staff and Faculty Development division.
This year's Instructor of the Year went to Staff Sgt. Jason Adams, Company A, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion. Adams is an instructor for the 35M Human Intelligence Collector Course. When accepting his award, Adams thanked his wife Erin and the two instructors he competed against.
"I had some great competition and I want to recognize them. Without the people that I competed against I would not have been able to push myself to that point. So, Sergeant Roberts [Staff Sgt. Keith Roberts, Company A, 305th MI Battalion], Sergeant Marchiony [Sgt. First Class Peter Marchiony, Non Commissioned Officers Academy], thank you very much," Adams stated.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Morris, 36th Army Band, was named NCO of the Year. Soldier of the Year went to Spc. John Diaz, Medical Command. Morris and Diaz were recently named NCO and Soldier of the Year after a grueling, four-day competition. The two competed against 11 other Soldiers Feb. 13-16 during the "Best Warriors" competition on Fort Huachuca.
While addressing the audience, Morris took a moment to commend his fellow competitors.
"They fought hard for this the whole way. Every one of them was enthusiastic and professional throughout every event, and I commend all of you." Morris's goal in the Army is to one day become command sergeant major of the Army band.
Since arriving on Fort Huachuca, Diaz has won the Medical Command Soldier of the Month board, Soldier of the Quarter board and the title of Medical Command Soldier of the Year.
"Your dedication to duty and professionalism combined with a high level of performance ... is a role model for all Soldiers to emulate," said Brig. Gen. Gregg Potter, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca commanding general.
During dinner there was a slide show presentation of the "Best Warriors" competition. The events and obstacles the Soldiers competing went through were relived through the presentation.
"Whether you won or not, it's the fact that you competed that matters. So everybody has a check mark in my book," Potter stated during closing remarks.
He went on to say, "A good leader walks the talk, and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others ... People respond to a person's passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration and a motivator."