Civilians receive praise for helping JBLM
May 31, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- People can create unbreakable bonds with their family and maintain long lasting relationships that will span many generations. For some military members, connections to the local community can produce partnerships that become as significant as their family connections.
Annually, several leaders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) select civilians who have made significant contributions to the installation. This year, the leadership chose two civilians whose efforts joined military members and civilians together through their commitment to community.
JBLM leaders inducted Mrs. Tamara Jenkins, former Mayor of DuPont, Wash., and Ken Swarner, co-publisher and editor of The Ranger newspaper, into the JBLM Civilian Hall of Fame (CHF) May 23 at the McChord Co-Located Club. The CHF was founded in 2003 to recognize civilians who have contributed to the JBLM community.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, deputy commanding general, I Corps, JBLM, presented the inductees with awards during the ceremony.
"They don't do it for awards or recognition, they do it because they want to and it's the right thing to do," said Buchanan. "It's our small chance to recognize all they have done for us, their sacrifices and what they have done to help make us stronger."
"Amazing, when you look at what these great individuals have done over the past eight to nine years; their support of our troops and families is inspirational," added Buchanan.
Inductee Ken Swarner helped ease the separation anxiety of spouses and families during deployments and has organized "A Salute to Our Unsung Heroes," an event that honored over 2000 military children. He also arranged free photos with Santa Claus and Christmas cards for military families to be sent overseas to deployed parents.
"I'm honored because we do these things to support people who do way more than we do," said Ken Swarner. "I have 30 years working in my business and it pales in comparison to what our Soldiers do in one day."
Swarner added that he admires Soldiers and it's his duty to serve his country. Even though he doesn't wear a military uniform, he still serves by donating his time to the military community.
Jenkins, DuPont's former Mayor, has brought the military and civilian community together through memorials, parades and "Operation Make a Soldier Smile" which sent care packages to deployed Soldiers containing more than $40,000 of donated items.
Jenkins said she has the utmost respect and admiration for those who serve because they have strength, character, integrity and honor, but most of all they have respect and trust for each other and fellow Americans.
Her childhood memories contribute greatly to her commitment to serving the military community.
Jenkins said that her grandfather and step-dad, who served in the military, represent the values of today's service members. This is her way of honoring them.
Buchanan expressed the importance of the bond between the civilian and military community.
"Civilian communities provide strength for all of our military families and troops, which improves our capability to get the job done," said Buchanan. "They provide a foundation for all of us."