Story by Aiko Brum on 03/22/2018FORD ISLAND More than 102 employees of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii received honors for superior achievements at the quarterly Employee Recognition Program, here, at Nob Hill, March 16.
The historic Nob Hill location is closest to the USS Arizona Memorial, the final resting place of 1,177 service members killed on Dec. 7, 1941. The "hallowed ground" served as the front facing view for the audience and was selected to honor the employees, said Michael Amarosa, deputy garrison commander.
Five received recognition for their years of service from 15 to 40 years, two received a Superior Civilian Service Award, 10 received a Commanders Award, 22 an Achievement Medal, three a Certificate of Achievement, 43 Recognition of Appreciation and 16 retirement commendations.
One employee, Dr. Paul Smith, a Natural Resources biologist with the Directorate of Public Works, was welcomed into the U.S. Army Reserve.
"(He) came to me saying he was considering becoming a part of the Army," said Col. Stephen E. Dawson, commander, USAG-HI, describing to the crowd the background of Smith's commissioning. "Having a Ph.D., he gets to come in as a captain."
After Smith took the Oath of Office administered by Dawson, the audience cheered and applauded with enthusiasm.
"When I made the decision to apply for commission, I envisioned it as an opportunity to bridge leadership between the military side and the civilian side," said Smith. "To be able to share that moment with my civilian peers, and to be given the oath by Col. Dawson, who I have the utmost respect for, was an amazingly wonderful experience. For the ceremony to take place where it did, on the shore next to the Arizona Memorial, was truly humbling."
Dr. Christine Altendorf, region director, Installation Management Command-Pacific, was on hand, too. She gave special tributes and extended "godspeed" to the retirees leaving the ranks.
"For myself, this ceremony was meaningful. Having this setting with the Arizona Memorial as a backdrop and having our command team recognize us this way will be a lasting memory," said Jack Wiers, a retiree from USAG-HI Public Affairs.
All attendees were invited on a boat tour of Pearl Harbor after the ceremony for their professional development.
"My chest is swelling with pride. We have just incredible teammates," said Dawson. "Without you we couldn't have run the second largest city in Hawaii. Professionally, you're second to none."