The 32nd Annual Department of Defense Disability Awards Ceremony — Outstanding Employee with a Disability or Wounded, III, or Injured Service Member — was held on Dec. 4 in the Pentagon auditorium, Washington, D.C. where one of our own Fort Huachuca employees was formally honored as the top DoD awardee.
The award ceremony theme, “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What can YOU do?” is synonymous with the reason the EEO office prepared and submitted the nomination packet for David Miller, Department of the Army civilian and recipient of the 2012 DoD Disability Award for an Outstanding Employee with a Disability.
There is much we all can do in the workforce concerning disabilities, starting with the idea of reminding the workforce to focus on the ability to perform a job, by a qualified individual with a disability, and negate focusing on the individual’s disability.
Therefore, using the aforementioned idea, the concept for preparing and submitting the packet derived from four perspectives.
The first was for him or her to be a qualified individual who possesses the relevant occupational skills and knowledge to achieve an agency’s mission and who is an asset to the agency, equal to his or her peers, regardless of the known or unknown disability.
Next, qualified individuals with disabilities and those without disabilities can work together as a cohesive team.
Third was to encourage managers and employees without disabilities to foster an inclusive work environment for qualified individuals with disabilities by removing barriers that hinder building symmetrical workplace relationships.
Finally, organizations should encourage qualified individuals with disabilities to seek and retain employment with the Department of the Army, anchored with diversity and inclusion as the foundation for a successful workforce.
Hence, meditating on the aforesaid idea of “what we can do” in conjunction with the four perspectives, Fort Huachuca’s nominee and award recipient epitomizes what we can do and achieve in an inclusive workforce. Miller symbolizes many dedicated and phenomenal qualified individuals with disabilities, especially targeted disabilities, who daily selflessly contribute to the betterment of society.
Individuals with disabilities provide an enormous resource of skills; knowledge, dedication and more, towards achieving the mission of employers. In addition, they represent our country’s diversity, while encouraging comrades and individuals with disabilities to continue striving for excellence, through serving citizens on Fort Huachuca and in the surrounding communities.
Accordingly, the nomination packet was prepared with the intent to display the skills, knowledge, heart, and similarities of individuals with or without disabilities, who can equally achieve goals through the sheer desire of the human spirit.
Therefore, the packet did not focus on a disability. It focused on the ability of a qualified individual to set goals and achieve those goals. It was my hope that Miller’s packet would encourage and inspire qualified individuals with disabilities to pursue employment opportunities within the Department of the Army and for employees without disabilities to recognize and appreciate the diversity their counterparts bring to the workforce.