FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - The Department of the Army Equal Opportunity Policy Office has announced the recipient of the 2009 Latina Style Distinguished Service Award.

Master Sgt. Erika A. Gordon was recently honored as the active duty Army award winner. Gordon was selected to represent the entire active duty Army based on her distinguished accomplishments.

The 2009 Latina Style Distinguished Service Awards honor military members and Department of Defense civilian employees who supported the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom wars and demonstrated role model qualities and the core values of their respective military service.

The award nominees were evaluated on several criteria: if they embodied the qualities that are at the core of the service's mission, if they were well respected by their superiors and peers as leaders and upstanding service members, and if they displayed exceptional character and represented their respective community with dignity and pride.

Gordon is currently deployed to Iraq with the 130th Engineer Brigade, as its equal opportunity advisor (EOA). Prior to her deployment, she was the EOA for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

An active member of the U.S. Army Hawaii Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, Gordon has participated in numerous fundraising events for wounded warriors in partnership with Military Ministries.

Her sense of community responsibility led her to sacrifice her off time and contribute to her community by volunteering as a soccer coach with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) league in Mililani. As a coach, she taught girls, ages 6-8, to lead an active life, play fairly, try their best, and have fun.

Another community project Gordon volunteers with is the Life Foundation of Hawaii. Its main focus is to support and raise funds for those affected by HIV and AIDS, as well as to educate the community about the prevention and spread of HIV and AIDS.

Gordon's real passion lies in making sure that youth, both inside and outside of her church, have a safe, morally acceptable place to go, have fun, and talk their issues out with people they trust.

She is a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), the Military Police Regimental Association and the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

Gordon was redeployed from Iraq and attended the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Her family was able to participate and share in the special moment.