By Devin Fisher, Fort Carson MountaineerMay 27, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo.---Nearly 800 people united at Broadmoor Hall May 14 to salute the military and see who would have bragging rights as the top enlisted members in Colorado Springs.
Community and military leaders and fellow servicemembers attended the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce-sponsored "Home of the Brave" Armed Forces Week luncheon that honored the area's 12 best enlisted, ultimately naming the top three.
Fort Carson's 1st Sgt. Alicia Newton, 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), was named the outstanding senior noncommissioned officer, while the Air Force's Tech. Sgt. Darren Williams, Schriever Air Force Base, and Senior Airman Olivia Gorman, Peterson Air Force Base, won the NCO and junior enlisted categories, respectively.
"It's awesome. I'm humbled," Newton said of being named the top senior enlisted member.
Newton, who has led numerous volunteer projects from providing school supplies to children, CARE packages for deployed Soldiers and the Run for the Fallen, said the community's support to the military inspires her to help out in the local area.
"The (Colorado Springs) community embraces the military, everything they do is for the military," Newton said. "I would like to give back more to the community because they give so much to us."
Lt. Col. Dorothy Huber, 71st EOD deputy commander, spoke highly of Newton.
"She is the most-deserving Soldier I have served with in my 21 years in the Army," she said. "For her to win this is amazing."
Spc. Kyle B. Edgbert, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, said it was "a huge honor" to represent his unit, Fort Carson and the Army in the junior enlisted category.
He was accompanied by his fiancee, Jessie Lundmark.
"I am so proud (of him)," Lundmark said. "To achieve this is amazing and just adds to his character and everything he is."
Brian Binn, president of the Military Affairs Division, Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, said the local community has always been supportive of those who serve in uniform.
"For us to be able to take the time, one day a year during Armed Forces Week, and recognize our enlisted forces - and all of our military here in the region, we look forward to it every year and it is just the right thing to do to recognize them for their sacrifices and service to our nation."
While serving as the master of ceremonies, Binn said the 12 finalists are winners already, after being nominated by their organization after winning a series of competitions within their respective categories. The packages of the 12 nominated active-duty and Reserve Soldiers and Airmen, were reviewed and the panel of judges interviewed the nominees to select a winner in each category.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the event's guest speaker, spoke of the quality of the men and women serving in today's armed forces. Recalling a few Memorial Days ago when he participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony, spoke at the Vietnam Memorial and then visited the Korean War Veterans and the World War II memorials, he said he was moved by the scope of the loss represented in all the memorials.
"But I was struck by how lucky we are as a country to continue to have generation after generation of Americans who believe so strongly in the values and ideals that this country stands for that they willingly give their lives," he said. "You can all be very proud of the men and women of the armed forces and what they do."
Casey thanked the community members in attendance for their support to the Soldiers and Families who live in the Colorado Springs.
"We couldn't do what we have done the last eight and a half years without the support of the American people and you do it here better than any place that I have seen," he said.