By Katie Davis Skelley
They are men and women who support the warfighter, advance the mission and protect the nation.
Redstone leadership, local officials and Association of the U.S. Army members assembled at the Jackson Center April 30 to recognize 26 government civilians from 10 organizations at the annual Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army 2019 Department of the Army Civilians of the Year Awards Dinner. Patrick Mason, deputy program executive officer for Program Executive Office Aviation, served as keynote speaker for the evening.
"This is for you," Mason told the crowd. "This is about you and your families and everything that you have done and will continue to do for the Army and for the Department of Defense.
"The nominations were truly impressive and it just shows what an incredibly talented group we have across Team Redstone and I am absolutely thrilled just to stand up here and honor the work that you do each and every day."
The Civilian of the Year award is named in memory of Dick Rhodes, longtime member of Team Redstone who served for more than 22 years on the AUSA chapter board. Among his multitude of professional achievements, Rhodes served as director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville Research Institute and chief operating officer of the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, now the Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center. Rhodes was a veteran and an active member in numerous military and community organizations. The award is presented each year in his honor.
Thomas Webber, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, was named overall 2019 Civilian of the Year from the nominees.
"To represent Team Redstone means everything," Webber, director of the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center, said. "It validates the significance of the work we are doing and recognizes the impact we are making for our Army and for our warfighters. And at the end of the day it's all about the warfighter and how we enable them to dominate on the battlefield and then come home safe. Redstone plays a significant role in accomplishing that mission. There is no better chapter in AUSA than the Redstone chapter and I thank them for having the confidence in me to represent Team Redstone.
"I accept this award on behalf of the tremendously talented and dedicated people at SMDC/ARSTRAT. What we do in the Technical Center is a team sport and I am blessed to lead a team of great Americans doing incredible work. To be the one able to represent our collective accomplishments is an honor and a privilege."
The winners from the six categories included Management Executive, Webber; Technical/Technical Management, Sophia Colquiett, PEO Aviation's Multi-National Aviation Special Project Office; Professional/Technical, tie - Sofia Bledsoe and Warren Keith, both of PEO Aviation's Apache Helicopters Project Office; Supporting Staff, Carol Hermann, SMDC; Department of Defense, Charles Garner, Missile Defense Agency; Non-Appropriated Funds, Melissa Richards, Garrison.
The following nominees in each category were recognized during the dinner:
• Management/Executive: Webber, William Nelson.
• Technical/Technical Management: Colquiett, Steven Tibaldo, Terri Schwierling, Erica Ignont, Susan Dunbar, Monica Williams, Jason McCormick, Kathy Jordan.
• Professional/Technical: Bledsoe, Keith, Gabriel Duncan, Taua Patrick, Christina Brantley, Harriet Clark, Jonathan Hornbuckle, Matthew Werley, Heather Hamilton, Michael Childers.
• Supporting Staff: Hermann.
• Department of Defense: Garner, Collier Blalock, Steve Mills, Insuk Sickler.
• Non-Appropriated Funds: Richards.