WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 5, 2014) -- Army civilian Carl E. Marchlewicz demonstrated selfless service when he was off the clock last year: he didn't even think twice before running into a burning home to rescue six children.
Marchlewicz was among a dozen Army civilian and military personnel honored today at the Pentagon, with the 2014 Secretary of the Army Awards.
Under Secretary of the Army Brad R. Carson said he is inspired by what the military and civilian workforce has accomplished, especially under "crushing fiscal constraints, which has forced the Army's Soldiers and civilians to do so much more, with so much less."
The Army has awesome global responsibilities, requiring public servants with an unshakable degree of selflessness, he said.
"We will arrive prepared for the next conflict, as America always has, borne on the shoulders of those citizens that choose a life of public service," he said.
Carson said innovating in order to confront challenges is an Army tradition that dates back to the beginning of the service.
"I firmly believe that if we empower our public servants and trust their abilities, they will carry us beyond our furthest goals to accomplishments undreamed of," he said.
Carson said the awardees are the thinkers and risk-takers of this generation.
"Behind these awards are immense accomplishments, and behind these accomplishments are incredible people," he said.
AWARD FOR VALOR
Marchlewicz, a mechanical engineer with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems in Warren, Mich., said an 11-year-old neighbor pounded on his door one afternoon last year saying "My house is on fire!"
"I entered the kitchen and it was ablaze; the stove was on fire, it was melting the microwave," he said. "I grabbed my fire extinguisher, shot it and it went out, then all of a sudden, it flamed back up again like four times bigger."
Marchlewicz, who has been an Army civilian for more than a decade, was able to extinguish the blaze on the stove, but didn't know if there was a fire anywhere else, as the home was filled with thick, black smoke.
After rescuing four children, he returned to retrieve two children who were hiding in the basement. Marchlewicz said he "crawled in underneath the smoke and went downstairs and grabbed the children," bringing all the siblings to safety as firefighters arrived.
His citation for the award for valor reads that he acted without regard for his life or personal safety, and as "a result of his personal courage and selfless service, he saved six lives."
The actions were instinctual, he said. During the emergency, his only concerns were about finding the children and putting out the fire.
"I just have a hard time when people say 'hero.' You just do what you got to do," he said.
"We're awfully proud of Carl and the recognition is really well-deserved," said Brig. Gen. David Bassett, with PEO Ground Combat Systems in Warren, Mich. "Not everyone would have gone into that house, and Carl did."
ESTABLISHING COMMAND CLIMATE
Sgt. 1st Class Derek A. White said he was surprised to find out he was the recipient of the Diversity and Leadership Award (Equal Opportunity Advisor).
White, an equal opportunity advisor for headquarters, 17th Fires Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., U.S. Army Forces Command, said he works on equal opportunity issues throughout the command.
He also helps establish a good command climate and assists with the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, program.
"I was very surprised, and humbled and honored to receive this award," he said.
White said he focuses on his mission of helping Soldiers.
"I've been telling everybody back at Joint Base Lewis McChord, I don't know what I did to receive it," he said. "I'm taking care of Soldiers and ensuring that their needs are met and they have somebody to listen to and help them out if there is a problem."
His citation says he is actively involved in every aspect of the Equal Opportunity program, and has set the standard for planning and executing ethnic and special observances on post, playing a "direct and critical role" in educating Soldiers about diversity and equality.
EXCEPTIONAL HEALTH CARE
Lori A. Loan, an Army civilian for more than three decades, is the chief of the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Loan, who is a nurse, is the recipient of the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.
"It's really exciting. I can't believe it," she said.
Her citation says that her outstanding work and professional activities in health care delivery "surpassed all expectations."
But the award and the achievements are not hers alone, she said, since she works with a team of people day in and out.
"I feel humbled by getting an award that really should go to hundreds of people," she said.
Loan said the work was "a lot of little things that turned out to add up to something pretty amazing," noting that improvements in practice and using data to make better decisions was a foundation for a dashboard for nursing that the Army uses now.
"I just love patient care. I have been blessed to be able to stay fairly close to the bedside and the nurses who provide care for my whole career," she said.
Jill J. Christensen is a writer-editor with the Publications Support Division, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.
She was the recipient of the Secretary of the Army Award for Editor of the Year (Command).
"It's a huge honor," she said.
"I feel like the main thing that it's going to do is open the door for other editors to encourage them to come up with their own innovations and ideas and maybe next year they can be here," she said.
Her citation described Christensen, who has been an Army civilian since 1985, as "skilled and tenacious." It said she significantly improved the quality of Army publications through her editing and writing initiatives.
She developed a custom template for doctrinal publications that became the division's required template, analyzed discrepancies between the template for Soldier training publications and the prescribed template, and improved workflow.
Christensen said many people work hard and come up with new ideas and do extra work.
"Everybody does extra stuff; it's not just one person," she said. "It's just this particular time, I got noticed and got lucky, and that's really the only difference, because everybody does special stuff."
The winners of the 2014 Secretary of the Army Awards are:
Diversity and Leadership Programs Award, Diversity and Leadership Award -- Gary P. Martin, deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Diversity and Leadership Programs Award (Equal Employment Opportunity Professional) --
Rufus B. Caruthers, director, Equal Employment Opportunity, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Diversity and Leadership Award (Equal Opportunity Advisor) -- Sgt. 1st Class Derek A. White, equal opportunity advisor, headquarters, 17th Fires Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., U.S. Army Forces Command
Small Business Utilization Award -- Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
Secretary of the Army Award for Editor of the Year (Command) -- Jill J. Christensen, writer-editor, Publications Support Division, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, Maneuver Center of Excellence at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Benning, Ga.
Secretary of the Army Award for Editor of the Year (Departmental) and Secretary of the Army Award for Publications Improvements (Command) -- Katie M. Griffin, policy team lead, Policy and Resources Directorate, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6.
Secretary of the Army Award for Publications Improvements (Departmental) -- Demetrius Glass, logistics management specialist, U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Secretary of the Army Award for Publications Improvements (Departmental) -- Donna Huggins, logistics management specialist, U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Secretary of the Army Award for Valor -- Carl E. Marchlewicz, mechanical engineer, Program Executive Office, Ground Combat Systems, Project Manager, Armored Brigade Combat Team, Warren, Mich.
Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service -- James W. Corriveau, director of public works, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum, N.Y., U.S. Army Installation Management Command
Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service -- Lori A. Loan, chief, Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry, Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service -- Debra D. Zedalis, director, Pacific region, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
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