Five Fort Huachuca employees have been nominated for Department of Defense awards over the past few months.
The first nomination comes after a group of four firefighters from the Fort Huachuca Fire Department were awarded the Firefighter Heroism Award, Team Award, by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, on May 21.
The other nomination for a DoD-level award goes to David Miller, paralegal, Administrative Law Division, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Fort Huachuca; Fort Huachuca Individuals with Disabilities Program manager, who was nominated by the Installation Management Command as IMCOM’s nomination for Outstanding Department of Defense Employee with a Disability. He will compete against Army employees from other commands. If he wins the nomination at the Department of the Army level, he will advance to the DoD competition.
Fort Huachuca Fire Department’s Engine 2 Fire Capt. Dave Rhodes and firefighters Adam Burgess, Anthony Crone and Chris Mercer were the recipients of the heroism award.
As previously published in the “Scout,” “The event that led to the award nomination took place on the morning of Sept. 24. Unbeknownst to the Fort Huachuca community, Fort Huachuca Fire Department’s Engine 2 Fire Capt. Dave Rhodes and firefighters Adam Burgess, Anthony Crone and Chris Mercer were rescuing a military police officer involved in a vehicle rollover five miles southeast of the main post in the Huachuca Mountains at an elevation of over 10,500 feet in treacherous terrain, typical of a high Alpine-type environment.”
“It was a surprise and a great honor to recognized at the garrison level, let alone Department of the Army,” Mercer said of the announcement of the win. The other three firefighters could not be reached for comment.
DoD will announce a winner after August. “It’s a great honor for the department to receive this recognition at the DoD level,” Mercer said of being nominated for the award.
“Each year we submit for the awards and when we get selected at the Region level it’s just the beginning. But when we get selected at DA level and move to the DoD it gets really exciting. When they announce the DoD winners and Fort Huachuca is called out. It’s just like being at the Emmys. Everyone is clapping, and the excitement level is at 10. We’re hoping for that DoD selection!” said Anthony Marra, installation fire chief, Fort Huachuca.
On being recognized at the DA level, Marra said. “It supports our job, displays what we do on a daily basis and illuminates the sacrifice emergency service men and women make to protect the community.”
Dave Miller was nominated by co-workers for the work that he does as collateral duty. Miller volunteers with the EEO office, working with people with disabilities. “He helps with the community, he provides information to those with disabilities looking for jobs, and he is their point of contact if looking for employment information or access to a facility. For instance if there is a problem and they can’t access a building in a wheelchair, they will contact him and he will coordinate with this office and other point of contacts to make sure they have access to those buildings. He does a great job at it,” said Sharon Walker, Special Emphasis Program manager, who nominated Miller.
Miller was instrumental in having a ramp put in at the Arts & Crafts shop, which was done in 72 hours. He also helps with resume writing, job skills and is encouraging to those with disabilities and those looking for employment, Walker added.
“He does so much more than just his job as Individuals with Disabilities coordinator. He is really a connection between us and the community and all of the individuals on-and-off fort whether you have a disability or not. He is a great resource,” Walker said.
“His commitment, his dedication, it doesn’t stop. Collateral duty jobs [require about] 20 percent of the employee’s time. Dave is 100 percent. He has his regular job as a paralegal which is demanding, but outside of that he is always, always thinking about people with disabilities and trying to help in any way he can,” she added.
Miller has held the position since May 2008 and just extended his volunteer work for two more years. “He’s really done a lot for the program and because of that we thought he was worthy for the recognition throughout the DoD. We should know around October or November if he wins,” said Beth Ford, Equal Employment Opportunity office program manager.
“Being nominated by my co-workers just shows we are a team. I come to work, and we really are a team. This just shows we work as a team and they felt enough of me to recognize me,” Miller said.
“I am really honored because people with disabilities start the day a little harder than those that don’t, so I represent the people who start theirs harder and come to work and do a great job,” he added.
“It is all volunteer work. I have gotten people alternate work schedules, special chairs or equipment they might need, computers, and I am currently working on making the disabled parking better,” Miller said. “I do it because anybody can come to work and do their job, but the extra is what really counts.”
If Miller bests out employees from other commands to earn the DA nomination, he will advance to the DoD level.