Fort Campbell’s civilian employees are an integral part of the Army’s mission, providing support services and increasing the quality of life for Soldiers and Families across the installation.
Many of those employees will be recognized for their efforts at 11:30 a.m. May 17 at Wilson Theater during the 64th annual Civilian Employee of the Year Awards Ceremony, “A Red Carpet Affair.”
“The Army civilians that are nominated in each category for Civilian Employee of the Year are our best and brightest,” said Leslie Herlick, training program coordinator, Training Integration Branch, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “The Civilian of the Year program is just one way we can recognize these outstanding members of our team.”
There are 42 individual nominees and four teams competing for awards, and winners will be honored in each of 11 categories: administrative/specialist; technician; first line supervisor; disability; leader; trades and crafts A; trades and crafts B; manager; professional/scientific; secretarial/administrative assistant/clerical and team.
Supervisors have submitted their nominees to a selection committee, which will choose the winners in each category based on a scoring system.
The committee is made up of union representatives and organizational leaders from across the installation.
“It feels pretty good when an organization sees the things you’ve been doing collectively with your crew and decides to give you recognition for it,” said Capt. Josh May, supervisory firefighter, Directorate of Emergency Services. “It’s part of the reason why you put so much hard work into things, and it’s a form of seeing the payoff.”
May was nominated in the first line supervisor category for his work with Fort Campbell Fire and Emergency Services. He wanted to support a military installation because of his background as an Air Force firefighter and has served with FCFES for the last 14 years.
“There are a lot of administrative duties we have to do with run reports and emails on top of running calls, which can range from one or two to 20 depending on what’s happening around post,” he said. “The thing that keeps me energized and loving this job is knowing that when somebody’s in their darkest hour I have the opportunity to make their life a little bit better, put their mind at ease or help them in their time of need.”
Other nominees work behind the scenes to maintain essential services, like Lee Woodward, information technology specialist, Regional Network Enterprise Center.
“I’m responsible for providing the network on Fort Campbell and everything people do on their computers has to go through that,” said Woodward, who is nominated in the administrative/specialist category. “I don’t fix the computers, but I make the network run so they can do what they need to do.”
Woodward began working with the RNEC in 2015 after spending a year as a contractor, and before that he served nearly nine years in the Army as an information systems operator. He quickly developed a connection to Fort Campbell and wanted to remain involved in the community after leaving the service.
“This is the closest major installation to my Family where I grew up in Indiana,” he said. “I just happened to get stationed here, and my military career allowed me to stay here the whole time. I’ve been providing network services for quite a while for different organizations, and it feels pretty good to be recognized for the stuff you do.”
Jennifer Rasmussen, a locksmith with the Directorate of Public Works, said she was shocked to receive her own nomination but thankful for the recognition. She has worked with DPW for three years and is responsible for installing many of the locks found across the installation.
“We work regularly with the Soldiers and we’re their frontline physical security as far as their jobs and how they live in the barracks,” said Rasmussen, who is nominated in the trades and crafts B category. “We’re kind of overlooked, and people only get a hold of us if they can’t get into a building or whatnot, but we work with other shops about as much as we do with the Soldiers to make sure physical security is taken care of.”
Rasmussen began practicing locksmithing after 9/11 while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan with the Rakkasans. The two remained in the area after he left the service, and she jumped at the opportunity to apply for her current position once it opened.
“We decided to stay here at Fort Campbell and made a life for ourselves, so I’m helping to support the best I can,” she said. “I felt like as a civilian I needed to do my part, and I feel like the military is part of my life even though I’ve never been active duty.”
Herlick said the Civilian Employee of the Year Awards help the installation attract and retain high-performing employees, as well as the teams that help them support the mission.
“The firefighters that I supervise and the other ones that are assigned to the same station as me, they’re the reason I can be successful,” May said. “They take a lot of work and weight off of my plate so that I can do the things I need to do, but I also give them the time and space to think outside the box. When they’re successful, I’m successful, and this is a direct reflection of that.”