FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Three Fort Jackson civilians recently received honors recognizing their work not just for the past year, but throughout their careers.

Rebecca Barron, with Moncrief Army Community Hospital, was recognized as both the 2011 Southeast Regional Medical Command’s and Warrior Transition Command’s civilian Social Worker of the Year; Kathy Kelley, also with MACH, received the Lt. Col. Karen Wagner Leadership award; a Medical Command civilian human resources leadership award; and Donald Copley, director of training for the Recruiting and Retention School, was selected to participate in the DoD’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

For Barron, her awards really symbolize a team effort.

“This award really is for everybody; all the cadre,” she said. “There’s no way I could have gotten this award without the cadre. They enable me to do the kind of social work I want to do.”
Barron has been a social worker since 1993 and a clinical social worker for nine years. She has been with Fort Jackson’s Warrior Transition Unit for a year. As a clinical social worker, Barron holds a master’s degree in social work and a clinical license equivalent to a behavioral health specialist. She acts as a sort of liaison between the warriors she serves and behavioral health.
She said she was surprised to have received the award.

“My heart has never been this full,” she said.

Barron said she strives to make sure that each Soldier who walks through the WTU’s doors gets plugged in right away, whether a Soldier requires behavioral health service or not.

“I want to know every warrior who walks in here. I really do try to know each of them.”

Kelley, chief of MACH’s Civilian Personnel Branch, said that receiving her award at the AUSA conference in San Antonio was a complete shock.

“I didn’t know that I had been nominated,” she said. “It was a nice surprise, a real nice surprise.”
Only two civilians throughout the Army Medical Command received the award, which is named after Lt. Col. Karen Wagner, a MEDDAC human resources officer who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Kelley, who has 40 years in civil service, has worked at MACH since 1987.

“I have been very fortunate throughout my career,” she said. “I have had great jobs, great bosses, great co-workers and great opportunities.”

For Kelley, receiving the award is a culmination of a career’s worth of work.

“For someone to take a few minutes of (her) time to nominate me, and for me to receive (the award) ... she said. “This is the best award I’ve ever received, to get something like this ... that’s quite an honor."

Copley, who has been at the Recruiting and Retention School since 2005, is ready to join two Soldiers and seven other civilians as they embark on their 10 months as part of the DoD’s Executive Leadership Development Program. Throughout the next several months, 10 people from each of the armed services will engage in an intense program that will have them in locations such as Africa and Afghanistan as they learn more about what it means to be a DoD leader.

“That I was one of eight chosen is a pretty prestigious honor,” Copley said, adding that more than 200 applied.

He said that he hopes to get a broader look at how things operate on a DoD scale. Participants will be hosted by each service, and will have a chance to experience what each has to offer, such as scuba diving with the Navy and flying with the Air Force. “I’m happy to be accepted, but I’m really not sure what I signed up for,” he said.

Having deployed twice as a civilian, Copley said that he is ready for the challenge. The program runs October through June.