FORT POLK, La. — Fort Polk’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate hosted an awards breakfast for its staff March 3 at the Showboat Theater.
Col. Tiffany Chapman, Fort Polk staff judge advocate, said the breakfast was part of an effort to put people first.
“We wanted to acknowledge our staff for all their hard work and dedication,” she said.
Lt. Col. Jess Roberts, deputy staff judge advocate, said the awards breakfast was all about thanking their staff of 58 legal professionals.
“Our law firm handles all the administrative and military justice actions on Fort Polk. If it’s a legal matter, it comes through our office,” he said. “I’m amazed at all the contracts they handle. Over the last two years the law firm’s contract division has handled half a billion dollars worth of contracts,” he said.
Roberts said in addition to contracts, they continue to handle other duties such as assisting Families during some of the toughest times of their lives.
“Not many law firms our size could handle that amount and scope of work.”
Roberts said the OSJA staff is proud of the impact they have on Fort Polk and beyond.
“Our legal team is honored to support the Soldiers and Families of Fort Polk,” he said.
Brig. Gen. David S. Doyle, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, opened the awards ceremony with a few words and presented some awardees with coins.
Doyle said it was a great honor for him to be there.
“Though we are here to recognize a few specific individuals, they are emblematic of what you do as an organization to keep JRTC and Fort Polk running the way it should, he said. “You help people every day by making a difference for the team that is trying to put ‘people first’ in everything that we do. Thanks for your dedicated and committed work.”
Phyllis Lenz, paralegal specialist, was presented with a civilian honorary award at the event.
“My job has been the biggest blessing. It’s been my pleasure to serve Soldiers, retirees and their Families for 46 years,” she said.
Lenz said this last year has been pretty challenging, but for most of her career she would have been happy to pay the government to come into work every day.
“I love my job,” she said.
Lenz said she isn’t used to being in the spotlight and is the type of person who likes to stay behind the scenes.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate receiving this award and the recognition that what I do matters. If I can put a smile on the face of just one person that walks through our doors, I feel like I have made a difference and that makes me happy,” she said.
Cpl. Samantha Corado, paralegal specialist, 317th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, said she handles legal issues for her unit as well as the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div.
Corado was presented with a coin at the awards ceremony.
“I’m proud of the work I do and I’m honored they chose to recognize me today,” she said.