FMWR journalist to receive top DoD award
May 5, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. -- She is usually seen with a camera pressed to her face ready to capture the decisive moment, a recorder in hand poised for great quotes, and a pen and paper nearby to write copious notes. Monica Wood recently stepped out of her work-mode to receive the highest award a Department of Defense writer can receive-a first place Thomas Jefferson Award.
"I didn't expect it. Just to place is exciting but to actually win a first place is more than I expected," said Wood.
She has spent 21 years covering events on post for Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation putting the stories into the Cannoneer as well as sharing them through other social media.
Although she has won numerous awards throughout her career she said this has been the most humbling.
"Honestly I didn't even know what story to turn in for the contest," said Wood. She credits a co-worker for picking out her story for submission and even before that she credits her other co-workers for copyediting.
"It really was a team effort. My name was on the article but the editor and several other staff members proofread my articles and made sure everything makes sense. So that's a big part of it."
The Thomas Jefferson Awards Program recognizes military and civilian employee print and broadcast journalists for outstanding achievements in furthering the objectives of the DoD Internal Information Program.
Prior to the annual Thomas Jefferson awards contest, each service judges its own entries and selects the best entry in each category for the final competition.
Wood's story kept rising through the different levels of competition as she received a first place Keith L. Ware award, then she won Armywide, finally taking the DoD contribution by a stringer category.
Her winning article covered Warrior Adventure Quest which is a program meant to help redeployed Soldiers transition from combat to a "new normal," reducing the potential for high-risk behaviors that are counterproductive to unit training requirements.
"One hundred and twenty recently redeployed Soldiers from 100th Battalion Support Brigade released stress, forged new friendships and learned to work together as a team thanks to the Warrior Adventure Quest program," stated her article.
Through her camera lens Wood shared how Soldiers used the game of paintball to help their transition and she used their words to tell the story.
"Monica is well-deserving of this award and once again shows that she is a huge asset, not only to the Cannoneer, but to the entire Fort Sill community," said Keith Pannell, Cannoneer editor.
Wood said the reaction from people on post is heartwarming but like a true photojournalist she doesn't take full credit as she said her work only reflected what was happening in real life and especially the lives of Soldiers.
"It wasn't about me, it was about representing our post and all the great people who work here."