By Rudi WilliamsAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 1997 Twelve service members and DoD civilian employees are recipients of top NAACP annual awards for their efforts in creating policies and programs affecting the employment and advancement of minorities and women.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also cited the awardees for fighting discrimination and sexual harassment in the military and for helping to make their communities better places to live for all races and ethnic groups.
The NAACP Meritorious Service Award went to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert E. Kramek and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman. The award is given to a service member in a policy-making position for the highest achievement in military equal opportunity.
Kramek was honored for fostering an environment within the Coast Guard where cultural differences are recognized, understood and valued, the award citation reads. Among the top goals of Kramek's diversity policy statement is the establishment of a working atmosphere that enables all Coast Guard personnel to reach their full potential. He strived to change the composition of the work force to better reflect the U.S. population.
Kramek was cited for adding more than $600,000 to his recruiters' budgets to help attract and retain racial, ethnic and gender groups underrepresented in the Coast Guard, tracking assignments of senior minority and women officers to ensure every Coast Guardsman has an equal opportunity in assignments and promotions, and directing construction of new gender-neutral facilities.
Fogleman was honored for his personal involvement in Air Force and DoD equal opportunity programs. "He takes personal interest and personally addresses issues of sexual harassment or discrimination," the award citation reads. "He has undertaken numerous initiatives to ensure all Air Force people have a quality environment that is free from discrimination, values human dignity and allows them to achieve their full potential."
In a message on discrimination and harassment, Fogleman emphasized there would be "zero tolerance when it comes to discrimination, prejudice or harassment within our ranks, because it's the law of the land and the right thing to do."
D. Michael Collins, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for equal opportunity, received the Benjamin L. Hooks Distinguished Service Award. The award is given to a DoD civilian in a policy-making position for his or her efforts in implementing policies and programs promoting military equal opportunity.
"Collins has spent his working life assisting others and trying to ensure equality and fair treatment for all DoD personnel," the award citation states. Collins helped convince DoD officials to centralize civilian equal employment opportunity training and developed the original equal opportunity training program at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
Nine people also received the Roy Wilkins Meritorious Service Award, given to U.S. military members who distinguish themselves by contributing to military equal opportunity policies and programs.
Tobin, a former enlisted soldier, was cited for his dedication to ensuring fair and equitable opportunities for all Army and Air Guardsmen and for years of work fostering better opportunities for minorities and women in the North Carolina Army and Air National Guard. His award citation credits him with influencing an attitude "that it is better to build up avenues of equal opportunity than to concoct numbers to correspond with notions of diversity just to buy temporary peace or satisfy regulatory requirements."
Since assuming chairmanship of the national committee, Tobin has "led the committee in addressing a number of issues such as education and training in equal opportunity, development of a mentorship program and increasing the number of equal opportunity advisors in Army National Guard units," according to the citation.
"She consistently strives for better understanding between people through educational and service programs," her award citation noted. Tyson is a founding member of the Joint Services Black Heritage Committee, a nonprofit organization at Fort Meade that raises money to feed the homeless in local shelters and to provide scholarships for local high school students.
Tyson also helped organize Fort Meade's first Juneteenth celebration (June 19 is celebrated in Texas and parts of the South in observance of the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas were proclaimed free). She directed her unit's first Women's Equality Day observance and participated in the Black History Month outreach programs of various Maryland district schools and the "Adopt-A-School" program.
Tyson initiated a "Pact for Life" program that provides a free ride home for soldiers who have had too much to drink.
Murkins instituted and participated in a mentor program that provides African-American male role models at local schools, according to his citation. He also organized Kitsap County's first Juneteenth celebration; established oratorical and computer contests for children in grades nine through 12; created a scholarship program for children of military and civilian workers; and introduced the Department of Justice's Drug Education for Youth Program to the Pacific Northwest.
He also acquired 18 government surplus computers and set up a computer center in a local low-income housing project. The center offers educational classes for senior citizens, teaches basic computer skills and skill upgrades, conducts high school equivalency classes and serves as a place for youngsters of the housing complex to do school work.
Nelson was honored for teaching educators, chief executive officers, health care professionals and college and high school students how to establish, manage and market community outreach and cross-culture programs.
He led the first all-African-American paramissionary and medical mission teams to South Africa to live and work among the people in black townships. Using social problems common in Albany as a model, the team helped the South Africans face and seek solutions to such problems as unemployment, crime, pornography, alcoholism, teen-age pregnancy, child abuse, spouse abuse, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, illiteracy and gangs.
Nelson established and directs the Albany-South Africa exchange program, which trains South Africans in Albany. He also serves on the Albany Gang Task Force and developed educational programs to help the community keep kids out of gangs.
Cited for more than 30 years of a host of contributions to improving his community, Roy was praised for contributing to numerous projects that improved the quality of life for citizens in Biloxi and the Gulf Coast area. Among these projects is his work as an advocate for at-risk, disadvantaged and minority students.
The first female African-American chief master sergeant in the New Jersey National Guard, Burton contributed "countless hours of volunteer community service, including teen outreach programs to combat low income families issues such as teen-age pregnancy, dropout and delinquency," her citation reads.
"Her constant support and dedication to the military and civilian population within the State of New Jersey distinguishes her as the example of the standards set forth by the Roy Wilkins Meritorious Service Award," the citation says
Cited for "exceptional professionalism and involvement in recruiting and local community affairs," Johnson is credited with enlisting more than 60 men and women and regularly exceeding the Coast Guard's minority recruiting goal of 20 percent.
"When the murder of a local high school girl was found to be connected with the inception of gangs in the area, Johnson counseled students most affected," according to the citation. "Through consultation with local leaders, school administrators and local county police department, he delivered an anti-gang seminar at local elementary and high schools."
Matthews was honored for his more than 30 years of mentoring and fighting for equal opportunity for minorities and women. He helped promote and defend the hiring of minorities and women and helped guide them in their aspirations. He's often sought out by young mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists and others, according to the award citation.
The Wilkins award, presented since 1980, is named after the NAACP's fifth executive director. The Hooks award, presented since 1990, is named in honor of the sixth.
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