KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Army News Service, July 27, 2010) -- The NAACP gave its top military service awards for 2010 to three Army leaders for their contributions to equal opportunity in the military.

Col. Barry Williams, commander of the 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Richardson, Alaska, received the Meritorious Service Award for volunteer work he did in the Washington, D.C. area, and Anchorage.

Retired Col. Norvel "Rock" Dillard, deputy director, Diversity and Leadership, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, received the Benjamin L. Hooks Distinguished Service Award.

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, G-1, received the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award for his work as commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. He expanded recruiting profiles and modified waiver requirements that allowed for a 35-percent increase in minorities and females being processed through regional recruiting brigades for the last three years.

In February, Bostick became the Army's deputy chief of personnel, G-1. A nationally-recognized public speaker, he fosters better understanding between races, works to improve minority education and works closely with members or Congress to ensure the nomination of qualified young people for admission to military academies.

The Roy Wilkins Renown Service award was created in honor of the former executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was responsible for the NAACP's Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Division which supports African Americans in the military. The award is presented annually to members of the U.S. armed forces for outstanding accomplishments in human relations, equal opportunity and civil rights.

Meritorious Service Award

Two weeks after arriving in Alaska, Col. Williams began a five-month renovation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9978 and the Ladies Auxiliary Post in Anchorage. More recently, he led a volunteer group to revitalize a Fort Richardson thrift shop, a project which impacted 20,000 Fort Richardson residents.

Williams said his commitment to helping others developed from his underprivileged childhood in Abbeville, Miss., where he shared a bed with five of his siblings and lived in a house without basic necessities.

"I believe I am charged with helping people to improve their lives. I truly believe in giving back and hope others do too," Williams said.

During his time assigned to the Pentagon, he volunteered through Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together, building and revitalizing homes of low-income families. His volunteerism touched the lives of young children, adults, the elderly, and the disabled in the communities of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Williams helped construct three houses in Virginia and five houses in Maryland for low-income families. His support directly provided eight families a hand-up rather than a handout.

Williams also served as fund-raising chairman of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He conducted numerous fund-raising events and was able to disburse $25,000 in academic scholarships to 12 high school and college students, who may otherwise have been left behind. Today, these scholarship recipients are continuing their education in hopes that they will give back to their communities in the future.

"I'm honored to accept this award. The work I do, I do for others, not for me to be recognized. But to have an organization take notice, that's humbling," Williams said.

Benjamin L. Hooks award

Norvel Dillard guided the Diversity and Leadership Directorate, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, through substantial organizational changes and helped enhance equal opportunity and equal employment opportunity in Army communities.

He implemented policies to increase the number of women, minorities and disabled people across all components of the Army.

Dillard said he was "truly humbled" to receive an award named after one of the frontrunners of civil rights promotion.

The Benjamin L. Hooks award, named after the executive director of the NAACP from 1977 to 1992, honors DoD civilians in policy positions for efforts to implement policies and programs that promote equal opportunity.

"Dr. Hooks led the way in doing God's work in civil rights for so many years and set the example for so many of us to follow," Dillard said.

"Last year, he [Hooks] reminded us at the 100-year NAACP Convention that he and legendary leaders such as Julian Bond, Andrew Young, Dorothy Height, Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson and so many others had done their part and it is our turn," Dillard said. "My exact feeling is, it is our time now and I am most grateful and blessed to be honored in his name to receive this award."