Community salutes military service
May 24, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation Military Affairs Council hosted the annual Armed Forces Day luncheon at the Broadmoor Hotel May 18 to thank the local military community for their service to the nation.
"(The military affairs division of the Chamber of Commerce) strives to sustain and develop the diverse military missions throughout the Pikes Peak Region," said Brian Binn, president of the chamber's military affairs division.
Each year at the luncheon the military affairs division honors all the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members for their military service and support to the Pikes Peak community.
"Thank you for maintaining a strong bond between our military and this community and enhancing the quality of life for our servicemembers every day," said Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, who served as the keynote speaker. "It's great to be among friends."
The luncheon provides an occasion for the community to acknowledge the abundant military service in the region but also gives the chamber an opportunity to present three enlisted servicemembers with an award for their superior service to the community.
Commanders from all branches of military in the region nominated 14 of their top troops for the 2012 Outstanding Active-Duty Servicemember Award in three categories: junior enlisted, noncommissioned officer and senior NCO.
Fort Carson's Sgt. 1st Class Courtney Williams, 59th Military Police Company, 759th MP Battalion, 42nd MP Brigade; Staff Sgt. Damion Bolton, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; and Spc. Bernard Begay, 59th MP; each received nomination awards for their outstanding service to the military and civilian communities.
"It's amazing to be able to represent an entire division single-handedly," said Bolton, who was the only Soldier nominated from 4th Inf. Div. "That's just something I never thought I would have the opportunity to do."
Bolton was nominated based on his exceptional military record, civilian education and involvement in the community where he volunteers at a homeless shelter and visits the assisted living quarters around Colorado Springs.
"I am tied with the community and I still haven't done enough," Bolton said. "As a Soldier, you don't have time, you make time."
The other two nominees were selected for their success in military board reviews, military achievements and physical training.
"I'm just a Soldier," said Williams, Fort Carson's latest addition to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. "But it is an honor to be selected to represent Fort Carson."
The chamber also recognized the four primary honor guards in the region for their support to the community during ceremonies and parades.
Master Sgt. Shawn Farnsworth, senior enlisted leader of the 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard, received an award of appreciation on behalf of the group for the mounted color guard's 46 years of support to the community.
"It is an honor to be part of every parade and to be the face of Fort Carson in the community," Farnsworth said.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach presented Farnsworth with his award and thanked him and all the servicemembers at the luncheon for their support.
"My wife, Suzi, and I are here on behalf of nearly 500,000 people in our city to pay tribute to all those who have served and continue to serve in defense of our freedoms," Bach said. "I just want to say to those who sacrifice their lives how deeply thankful we are for your service ... God bless you all and thank you."