FORT LEE, Va. – Twenty-five civilian employees were recognized for “enhancing the lives of others and taking on more than required” during an Outstanding Civilian Service Award ceremony Oct. 19 in the Lee Theater.
Scott G. McConnell, deputy to the CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, presided over the ceremony with numerous senior installation and tenant leaders in attendance. Prior to presenting the awards, McConnell acknowledged the contributions of the day’s honorees.
“You are receiving the best type of award; recognition that results from recommendation by your peers,” he said. The OCS Award process begins with a nomination from supervisors and fellow workers. Requesting, collecting and processing submissions is a contribution of the Civilian Welfare Fund program here, which McConnell oversees. A separate evaluation board selects the awardees based on the contents of entries.
“You are receiving this award because you are often sought out by leadership to fulfill additional duties and taskings outside of your normal responsibilities,” McConnell further noted. “Your willingness to take initiative and display innovative thinking, impacting your organization, is to be commended. You represent the epitome of the DOD Civilian (workforce). You add to the success of Fort Lee and the Army’s mission.”
Those crossing the stage to accept awards included Army Logistics University employee Terry Robinson who, according to his nomination, “is at his best when mentoring people one-on-one and finds inspiration by watching others grow to fulfill their potential.” As an ordained minister, he gives back to the community as a volunteer for the Southside Regional Hospital support ministry. During 12-hour on-call shifts, he responds if patients or their families request pastoral support.
Pamela Blakely received recognition for the many administrative contributions she made in her first year with the Defense Contract Management Agency. As a military spouse, she is a volunteer driver for the 266th Quartermaster Battalion Meals for New Moms program. It serves Soldiers giving birth, providing those families with hot meals for up to three weeks.
OCS Award recipient Jason Reedy from the Defense Commissary Agency excels as a contracting officer and a volunteer youth mentor with the Boy Scouts of America. Kyle Montgomery Sr. from the Quartermaster School’s Logistics Training Department received a nod for innovations that increased efficiency and saved money – on top of serving as a campus pastor for Destination Church.
The narratives of the award recipients could go on for many pages, and the common thread for all individuals already named and those that follow is superior service and an innate desire to make their communities better. The remaining honorees are Tanesha J. Allen, Ordnance; Terrance A. Bell, Garrison; Margaret J. Camacho, DeCA; Gwendolyn G. Daniels, Quartermaster; Omar Delgado, DCMA; Tamara J. Eastman, DeCA; Kevin M. Grobarcik, Quartermaster; Cameron C. Harbison, ALU; Sonja E. Hauger, Quartermaster; Frederick James, Network Enterprise Center - Lee; Jimia L. Jones, Garrison; Jimmie J. LeRoy, DCMA; Christopher W. Mitchell, Garrison; Carley E. Salmon, DCMA; Ruben Valle, Army Shared Service Center; James R. Vardy, Ordnance; Margaret A. Viboolsittiseri, Ordnance; Alan L. Wagner, Quartermaster; Jason Walters, Garrison; Estell Watson, DCMA; and Michael W. Wilson, Garrison.
“It is so nice to see these individuals finally get the recognition they deserve,” acknowledged Carrie Williams, the CWF secretary who manages the awards program. “Some have waited more than a year for this ceremony (because of COVID restrictions in 2020 that prohibited large indoor gatherings).”
Even this year’s formalities had a last-minute shock when new guidance was issued the evening prior, limiting indoor gathering to 50 people and requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or negative results from a recent COVID test. Some audience members had to be turned away, and CWF offered its appreciation for their understanding and support.
Immediately following the award ceremony, recipients and their civilian colleagues across the installation were invited to take part in the CWF Chick-Fil-A “Drive-Thru” event. Participants were able to pull up in their cars and receive a free lunch consisting of a sandwich, chips and a cookie. Most were greeted with shouts of “thank you” from members and volunteers of the Fort Lee CWF program.
“It was a successful and uplifting day,” reflected CWF Chairman Barbara Vonada. “It’s an honor to serve as the head of this amazing team, and I’m proud of all that we continue to accomplish year after year. We have an extraordinary workforce at Fort Lee that deserves to have someone watching out for them. Filling that need is the least we can do.”