Supporting Soldiers and their families holds special meaning for a member of the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., whose patriotism runs deep.Dea Cooper, who is dual hatted as the contracting office's deputy director and chief of its contracts division, finds great satisfaction in her service to the Army."I love producing a product that has so much value for our service members and our country. Working in contracting allows me the opportunity to feel like I make a difference," Cooper said. "Especially, teaching contracting professionals and Soldiers to embrace the importance of our trade, for providing a product that helps execute the military mission, it makes you proud. I am lucky to be able to serve in this capacity."The Tacoma, Wash., resident is responsible for supervising and directing personnel and functional activities for the MICC contracts division, which includes execution and administration of installation contracts. Among those contracts are critical needs that include food service, deployment training, cell phone services, barracks room assignments and aircraft services."Without these services our military members would not be mission ready," Cooper said.Cooper was recently recognized for exceptionally meritorious service while serving as acting director in 2012 for MICC-JBLM where she was responsible for leading one of the largest installation contracting offices within MICC at a time of extraordinary contracting policy change and implementation of a new electronic contract file management system as well as budget and staffing challenges.After a challenging day, she seeks comfort in friends and family. She's enjoys singing with her husband of 33 years on their home karaoke machine and sharing in the joys of her six siblings and their children. She also finds time to care for five rescue dog. For Cooper, love of family and country go hand in hand."I am lucky to work with so many great civil servants and Soldiers," she said. "I am proud to be a government employee and honored to serve our Soldiers and Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord."