Three service members and three civilians were honored as the U.S. European Command’s top service members and civilians of the year during a ceremony Feb. 8 at the EUCOM headquarters on Patch Barracks.
“I think it is encouraging for everyone to be recognized for their efforts and it helps keep morale high,” said Navy Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Jonna Marin, maritime analyst at EUCOM’s Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe in the United Kingdom, and junior-enlisted service member of the year recipient. “The little things you do add up and people will notice, regardless. Recognition doesn’t even compare to the experiences you will have.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Randall Woods, president of the enlisted senior-level SMOY board, said the evaluation process examines the complete candidate, not just his or her work.
“We also take into consideration the work they have done in the community as a whole, from coaching a sports team to being a Sunday school teacher,” Woods said.
Army Sgt. Bethany Guzman, senior staff driver for Distinguished Visitor Support Element-Motorpool, was named the mid-level enlisted SMOY. Guzman agreed that self-improvement should be a strong consideration in the nomination process and said the improvements involve taking initiative.
“Volunteering, bettering yourself academically and personally,” Guzman said. “Ask yourself, ‘how can you make life better for the office or unit?’ Whether it’s coming up with new training books or standard operating procedures, any opportunity, take it.”
Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Gerald, superintendant for the Joint Reconnaissance Center of the Intelligence Mission Operations Center, was selected as the senior enlisted SMOY. Gerald said he felt it is important for someone to consistently seek ways to make contributions to the team effort.
“It’s not so much what you think of yourself as what others see you doing for EUCOM as a whole,” Gerald said. “That’s the right motivation. You should always ask yourself, ‘what more can I do for the command and the team?’”
On the civilian side, Brittani Lundbye, EUCOM Policy, Partnering, and Capabilities directorate executive assistant, took home the civilian of the year category one award for civilian pay grades GS-1 through GS-8. Lundbye agrees that it takes a proactive approach towards self-improvement to stand out amongst peers.
“Never be complacent,” Lundbye said. “Always try to learn more and don’t be afraid to ask others for their advice. Many people here at EUCOM have a good deal of experience and can help if you simply ask.”
COY category two, for civilians in pay grades GS-9 through GS-13, went to David Patterson, knowledge management officer in EUCOM’s Analysis and Assessment Directorate. Patterson said he practices life lessons from his child’s swim team, the Stuttgart Piranhas, when approaching anything at work.
“I’ve learned to listen to your coach, work on your least favorite stroke, swim fast and cheer for your teammates,” Patterson said. “Look for others’ talents and strengths, and always presume their best intentions while seeking opportunities to join forces.”
COY category three, for civilian pay grades GS-14 and GS-15, was awarded to Joseph Jamison, Command, Control, Communications and Computers support branch chief of the Joint Cyber Center in EUCOM’s C4 and Cyber Directorate. Jamison said it is also important for service members or civilians anywhere in EUCOM to remember how vital they are to the larger mission of the command.
“It’s a by-product of what you are doing day-to-day; it’s not something you think about or plan,” Jamison said. “You stay focused on practicing a sustained superior performance every day. I can promise you, good things will happen.”
Woods said leadership, community and partners play an integral role in EUCOM’s SMOY and COY process. “It takes leadership involvement to get involved,” Woods said. “The [EUCOM] chief of staff supports this program and he, and the [command] fleet master chief, both took time to come down and personally recognize these people. The recognition truly is a community and international effort. Civilians are the backbone of our command.”
Gerald said he felt it was important that EUCOM not only recognized their service members, but civilians as well. “It represents to me that EUCOM is not just a military organization, but also supported by hard-working contractors and civilians,” Gerald said. “It is truly a group effort.”