By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 31, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 31, 2013) -- In conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month the Equal Employment Opportunity Office recognized the winner of the 2013 Fort Rucker Outstanding Employee of the Year with a Disability Award -- Brian Fair.
Fair is an instructor at the Warrant Officer Career College and said that he was most thankful for the people at work who thought enough of him to submit him for such an award and to have recognized his daily effort.
"I was very grateful and thankful when I was notified that I had won because I love what I do and I would do it every single day without recognition or some award, but the fact that someone chooses to recognize you in spite of that is humbling, and I appreciate that," he said.
Col. Robert C. Doerer, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence deputy commander, said that it was a honor to present Fair with the award.
"To get through those emotional and physical challenges after your accident really shows your personality. You did it and you did it beyond any doctor's belief of what you would get back that quickly, and that just shows the person that you are," he said to Fair during the award ceremony.
"This award is fitting for you, for not only what you have accomplished in your personal life but what you have done for at the WOCC," Doerer continued. "You have done so much there and have touched many warrants that have passed through the doors."
Fair served 20 years in the military and has worked on the civilian side of the installation for the last nine years. He lost his lower left leg in a motorcycle accident two years ago when a man made an illegal left turn and struck him.
"I spent about five weeks in different hospitals and finally I was taken to University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital and they amputated my leg the exact same day all the tornados hit Birmingham," he said. "From that point on it has just been a process of learning how to walk again, getting on the platform again and teaching."
He said that internal drive motivates him, and that after growing up in the infantry he learned to make everything he saw a challenge.
"I do not accept defeat or failure easily and that carried over into all aspects of my life. I want to strive for excellence in everything," he said.
The Commander's Award for Exceptional Civilian Service was also presented to Fair as he towered over Doerer at 6'5."
"It has been said that which does not kill you makes you stronger, but I am not too sure about that. But I can tell you it sure has been a challenge," said Fair before he thanked both his personal Family and his WOCC Family. "The Army calls it tenacity, but my mom and pop know better and they call it stubbornness, and that's what I am. I refused to give up."
Timothy Knighton, Fort Rucker Equal Employment Opportunity director said that it is part of the government's mission to increase the employment of those with disabilities among its ranks, and "what better way to do this than to demonstrate our caring and our love for those who put out so much effort to continue the mission every day."
Though Fair said that he did not experience depression and anger about what happened to him, he encourages people who might find themselves in a similar situation to talk to somebody.
"Find somebody that wants to talk to you and who wants to listen, because there are things that are going on inside of you that somebody just doesn't understand unless they have been through it," he said. "So find someone who can relate to you somehow so you can ask questions about the new normal for you."