Last November, the Edwards community said goodbye to Johnny Anthony, Hispanic Employment Program manager.
May 16, personnel from the various special emphasis programs and Anthony’s co-workers gathered to honor him with the unveiling of his “Wall of Remembrance” in Bldg. 3760.
“We want to honor somebody who’s done a lot of special emphasis programs, not only for the Hispanic program, but for all of our special emphasis programs,” said Alfred Wilson, 412th Test Wing, Equal Opportunity director. “This is not a memorial service, its recognition for his contributions.”
Anthony was an electronics mechanic for the 412th Maintenance Squadron. His director, Margaret Fleming, shared that Anthony “served his country with his whole life.”
He served in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1974 and began his Federal Civil Service career in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979 until he transferred to Edwards 17 years later.
In addition to his regular duties, Anthony served as the Air Force Test Center Hispanic Program manager for more than 10 years.
“The fact that he got to be a part of what went on here with the Hispanic heritage and got to interact with the other heritage groups, made him happy. You could just see his demeanor change when he started to really do it on a regular basis. I mean it affected the way he dressed, it affected the way he carried himself, it affected how much he felt he was contributing here at Edwards,” said Fleming.
Col. Daniel Daetz, 412th TW vice commander, encouraged Anthony’s colleagues to remember what the American flag represents, “out of many one.”
“This is what America is all about. We don’t all look the same,” said Daetz. “What Johnny was about, he had his awards and worked with the Hispanic and Latino community, which is great, but that wasn’t just what he represented, it was that every person mattered, every person counts, each one of you matters.”
Anthony exhibited that “every person counts” through mentorship. According to Daetz, Anthony understood that “you don’t just train somebody so they can do the job, you train them so they can train somebody else eventually to do the job.”
That’s how the other special emphasis program managers remember him, as a mentor.
“Johnny was a shining example of what we all try and do here, SEPMs and other individuals here. We want to look like the country we represent. We want to have Latinas, African Americans, veterans, people with disabilities and he leaned forward and lived that creed to make the federal service here at Edwards look like that. He mentored all those people so they also are able to lean forward and lead in that manner,” said Darcy Painter, 412th Communications Squadron.
Robert Cruz, Asian American/Pacific Islander program manager and Cheryl Avon, People with Disabilities program manager, recalled Anthony’s role in the first Cultural Diversity Day in 2009.
“Mr. Wilson just said, ‘I want to do this,’ almost like just saying, ‘oh I’d like for that to happen,’ and he [Anthony] took it and just made it happen,” said Avon.
The 2009 event went so far as to feature service dogs from San Diego. Anthony later won an Air Force-level award for his involvement in planning the event.
When people see the Wall of Remembrance, Avon hopes they will be inspired by Anthony’s mentality that “we’re all the same, regardless of your culture or race, we’re all one.”
“We’ve got to be able to have that unbroken chain of excellence to be able to defend that flag and what she represents,” said Daetz. “I think Johnny did that very well in what he did investing in apprenticeship and investing across the community, we are one community and he lived that out.”