Civilian Service Award Photo.jpg

FORT LEE, Va. -- Seven civilian employees representing various organizations across the installation were recognized for their superior job performance and volunteerism in the local community during a Nov. 7 awards ceremony at Mifflin Hall.

John E. Hall, deputy to the commanding general, presided over the formalities in the James Madison Room of the CASCOM headquarters. All honorees received a certificate of appreciation, a civilian employee pin and a one-of-a-kind Outstanding Civilian Service Award coin in a mahogany commemorative box.

The Fort Lee Civilian Welfare Fund sponsors the bi-annual recognition program and the awards presented. Anyone can nominate a post employee for recognition. A judging panel rates recommended candidates on their civilian service and, more importantly, their contributions to the community.

“I don’t know of an award program like this on any other installation,” Hall remarked before the presentation. “It’s unique to Fort Lee in that these civilians were nominated by their peers for volunteering in their communities.”

In her remarks, CWF Chairwoman Barbara Vonada said, “the charitable work these seven civilians do reflects positively on Fort Lee and the Department of Defense, and they are great people to befriend and know because of their willingness to give of themselves.”

The list of award recipients and highlights of their exceptional service follows:

Claudia Brickhouse, a 35-year employee described as the “heartbeat” of CASCOM’s G3/5/7 Training Development Directorate. She has provided outstanding support to the director, proponent schools, directors of training and newly arrived interns. Brickhouse often oversees key taskings and initiatives with short suspenses that are beyond the scope of her required duties. Furthermore, she is an active member of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Richmond, where she teaches Sunday school and organizes welcome retreats that help members experience a renewal of faith and strengthened relationship with God. She also is the designated baker for most ministry events and functions.

James Cooper is an Advance Leader Course instructor at the Army Logistics University. Annually, about 600 junior and mid-level noncommissioned officers benefit from his expertise in the basic principles of electrical troubleshooting on military vehicles. The 8-year civil service employee is often sought out by his supervisor to assist in various functions for ALU. He volunteers with the Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy as a flag football coach and a committee member for LNCOA functions. He is a member of the Fort Lee Retiree Council. He also serves as senior vice commander for VFW Hopewell Post 637, and as its maintenance and property chairman. For the past five years on Memorial Day, he has honored thousands of veterans by laying flags on their graves at Hopewell National Cemetery. He conducts bingo at the VA hospital for disabled veterans. He has raised more than $3,000 for the Central Virginia Junior Bass Anglers for tri-city high schools and serves as a board advisor with more than 150 volunteer hours.

William Dial is a business analyst with the Defense Commissary Agency Headquarters. He has 13 years of civilian service. He eagerly accepts challenges, embraces training requirements and performs his job with distinction. As one-of-two file maintenance assistants for Health and Beauty Care product lines, Dial is responsible for keypunch entries for more than 5,000 items in excess of $300,000 in sales annually. In his personal time, Dial can be found in his church performing usher duties, distributing school supplies, and collecting and distributing food. He also sings in the male chorus and is a cast member in his church’s annual Easter play. He recently organized a fishing trip for more than 20 church youth, many of whom had never done so before.

Michael Parker is deputy chief of staff, G-1, for human resources, CASCOM. He has been part of the government workforce for 17-years and serves as the command’s single point of contact across seven installations for all civilian matters related to organizational structure, recruitment strategies, labor and employee relations, and workforce planning. In his personal time, Parker volunteers with fraternity programs that help boys grow into responsible young men – devoting his time and energy to mentoring them and promoting a fatherhood ethos to underscore the importance of positive male role models. Over the past six years, Parker has collected, reviewed and delivered more than $50,000 in scholarships on behalf of his fraternity. He spends time with residents at the Sitter and Barfoot Veterans Care Facility, playing board games, serving refreshments, and actively listening to their war stories.

Courtney Varner, an Army veteran with 13 years of service, is a civilian supervisory police officer and a member of the Special Reactionary Team in the Provost Marshal Office. He is noted for his initiative, hard work and loyalty to the organization. SRT members have an additional duty to teach and mentor patrol officers on processing critical emergencies, and provide the latest training with respect to new and changing laws. Noting a difference in military and civilian training and experience, Varner enlisted in the Army National Guard so he could receive their military police officer training, which he then used to improve civilian SRT instruction and communication. As a health and fitness guru, Varner participates in off-post events like the Mud Run, law enforcement fitness competitions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving walks, and torch runs. He also gives talks for the Boy Scouts, National Nights Out events, and other community policing endeavors, sending a positive message to youth.

Steven Vaughan works for the Ordnance School and has 9 years of civilian service. He was chosen by the deputy to the commander to train and inform the workforce about the recently introduced Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program. In addition to his regular duties, he provided initial training to the senior Ordnance leadership and additional professional development instruction to other departments. His commitment to excellence spread throughout his section, producing Civilian of the Quarter and Civilian of the Year awards. Vaughan has coached basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, track and soccer for ages 5-to-13, making a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of children in the Fort Lee community. He has received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service, a prestigious award given to U.S. citizens who have accumulated more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service.

Larry Watson is a course director in ALU’s College of Professional and Continuing Education. He has 11 years of civilian service. He has trained hundreds of students in his department’s three primary courses, including the Installation Logistics Management Course. Watson has served on the scholarship committee of the Southside Virginia Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, which has awarded nearly $100,000 to local high school graduates. He has served as the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and ROTC coordinator for MOAA, acting as a mentor to students in Petersburg and Hopewell, as well as Greensville, Surry, Prince George, Brunswick, Dinwiddie and Sussex county high school JROTC programs. He played a direct role in selecting and presenting leadership awards to students entering their senior year of the JROTC programs. He is active in recognizing leadership in ROTC students at Virginia State University, participating in their commissioning ceremonies. Several of these students have gone on to become Transportation and Quartermaster officers.

The Outstanding Civilian Service Awards program is the CWF’s response to a 2014 survey of post employees in which the No. 1 request was more recognition for noteworthy achievements. The award honors DOD Civilians, nominated by their peers, who go above and beyond in their work on Fort Lee, and through volunteerism and charitable work within their communities. Six recipients—seven if there is a tie—are chosen twice a year, in March and October.

The March 2019 award program will kick off in January with an email from the CWF primaries and alternates calling for submissions. Those with questions about the award program should contact their agency representative or the CWF secretary at caroline.williams@deca.mil.

For more information about the CWF and how it supports DoD Civilians here, visit www.fortleecwf.com.