Rhonda Nelson received the Member of the Year award from out-going Civ-Mil president John Fergione recently after the 2016 Civ-Mil inauguration banquet.
“Every time I got into a jam, Rhonda was my right arm,” said Fergione. “She has worked on virtually every committee for every event that Civ-Mil has held in the past year, so when the time came to honor a person for this award, Rhonda was an easy choice.”
Nelson has a special place in her heart for Edwards Air Force Base.
“I truly love being a part of the EAFB Civ/Mil Support Group,” she said. “I am very passionate about supporting our military.” Her two twin daughters were born on the base. “It was the first time twins born there in 50 years so we received a lot of attention and special care,” said Nelson.
Working at Edwards as an aerospace contractor for Rockwell International and currently as director, Civic Affairs for Northrop Grumman at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., she has been involved with aerospace for over 29 years.
Being a spouse of a retired Air Force chief master sergeant, she frequents the Commissary and Exchange throughout the year.
“It is good to see what is available to our GI’s and their families,” she said. “During my travels throughout the world, I always use my dependent ID card to visit military bases for comparisons and ideas on what we may be able to do better for our military families locally.”
The purpose and general nature of the Edwards Air Force Base Civilian/Military Support Group is to establish a friendly benevolent association of civic leaders and military personnel EAFB to act as a host group whenever needed and additionally, to consider an annual service project to benefit the base.
One of those projects is seeking continued donations for Airman’s Attic — a place where airmen can shop for free. Although the Airman’s Attic is open to ranks E-1 through E-6, usually E-1 through E-3 are given priority on larger household items.
Hearts Apart is a program designed to offer support to the spouses and family members of deployed personnel. Civ-Mil also helps to provide money for emergency travel and practical needs. They have donated computers, Keurig Coffee makers, video games and other items to help make life a little more enjoyable.
“When family members are left behind and taken care of, those who are stationed far away can concentrate on their mission and have peace about their families,” explained Nelson. “I have traveled overseas as a dependent and understand many of the issues and hardships as a young family aboard and not knowing where you will be going next. I’m very passionate about what Civ/Mil does for our GI’s and appreciate all of the community support we receive.”
Nelson is also a mentor with the American Corporate Partners. The ACP mentoring programs connects post-9/11 veterans (Protégés) with corporate professionals for yearlong mentorships. She was hand selected by ACP and Northrop Grumman to be a mentor to veterans looking to build their next career.
Serving as a director with the Los Angeles County Air Show and past president of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Nelson said she was happy that Fergione asked her to run for the Civ-Mil president office, but was a bit hesitant in saying yes due to her current job assignment requiring her to travel often. “So we compromised and I am very honored to be the vice president of this great organization. There are so many great mentors in the organization, I know they will not let me fail.”