Kelly Lake, a Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Human Resources Specialist, was honored for her 37 years of government service during a retirement ceremony at SDDC headquarters, Dec. 11.

Clay Carter, SDDC's Personnel and Logistics Director, officiated the ceremony.

"Ms. Lake set the highest standards for performance, ethics, and excellence," said Carter, who recognized Lake's exceptional service and accomplishments by presenting her with the Superior Civilian Service Award.

According to the award citation, signed by SDDC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, Lake's "exceptional leadership and technical expertise as the command's senior specialist on labor and employee relations issues" made her "the driving force in the training and implementation of the Department of Defense's new performance management system for over 1,200 civilians."

Lake also received recognition from Illinois Congressman Mike Bost in the form of an American Flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building, along with gifts from coworkers and notes of congratulations from Farmen and SDDC Deputy to the Commander Bryan Samson.

Lake began her government career in 1981 as a clerk typist, working for the Office of Personnel Management located in St. Louis, Mo. Three years later, she accepted a position with the Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Entering the personnel field in 1991, she transferred to the 375th Mission Support Squadron and rose through the ranks as an Employee Relations Specialist.

From 2008 to 2016, Lake held positions with the Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers before returning to Scott Air Force Base to assume her current role with SDDC.
Carter said Lake set an extremely high standard and will be missed.

"It's terrific to see so many of your friends and coworkers here to celebrate with you," Carter told Lake. "It's a testament to your professionalism and superior customer service."

Several members of Lake's family were present for the ceremony, including husband Steve who was presented with a spouse certificate for his support of his wife's career.

Lake's son Brent and his wife Lisa brought a special guest to the ceremony - their son Cavanagh, Lake's first grandchild.

Lake shared that she made her decision to retire the day Brent and Lisa told her they were going to have a baby, and she submitted her retirement paperwork the next day.

"I'm forever grateful for all of the support I've received and I'm truly blessed to have worked with so many amazing people over the past 37 years," remarked Lake, "but I'm ready to be a grandmother."