Maxwell Civilian Employee Earns National Award
By Staff Sgt. Samuel E. Warren Jr., USAF
National Guard Bureau
MAXWELL AFB, GUNTER ANNEX, Ala., March 5, 1997 She didn't win an election. She's not a lobbyist or a diplomat. And though she may see a few of Washington's attractions while in the area, she isn't even going as a tourist. Alma J. Bowen of the Headquarters Standard Systems Group is venturing to the nation's capital to accept the Government Employees Insurance Company's annual Public Service Award.
Other winners are: Judith Gilliom, disability program manager, Defense Department, Washington; James E. Kaderabek, education coordinator, U.S. Army, Camp Henry, Korea; Kathleen Tomlin, Department of Veteran Affairs, Fort Lyons, Colo. and Ronald Hinkle, a retired Social Security Administration insurance representative, Round Lake Beach, Ill.
Two years ago, citizens of rural Mount Meigs, Ala., had no fire protection. For more than 15 years, people had unsuccessfully tried to organize some type of volunteer fire department. "Some people from the community knew I had a reputation for being able to organize projects, so they approached me, and the idea started from there," said Bowen.
As a result of Bowen's actions, the Waugh-Mount Meigs Volunteer Fire Protection Authority today has its own building on two acres of land, three trucks and several volunteer firefighters, and receives some funding from Montgomery county. "We started off with bake sales, raffles of Thanksgiving turkeys and other items," said Bowen. "We completed the necessary paperwork for incorporation, wrote the bylaws, concluded the memorandum of agreements, received a rating for fire protection, and became a member of the local fire department association. We now receive some tax funds from the county."
Bowen said one cold, hard, cash benefit for local residents is a decrease in insurance premiums as a result of firefighters being in the immediate area.
Bowen, a business office computer specialist. "I've always been one of those people who saw a job that needed to be done and I would go out and do it," said Bowen. "For almost 20 years, I have organized many family and high school class reunions. The comments I received from the attendees encouraged me to accept other projects."
The GEICO Philanthropic Foundation grants the annual Public Service Award to four federal employees and one civil service retiree for achievements and contributions to the public good. Winners and spouses receive an expense-paid trip to the nation's capital, March 7-11, to attend the awards ceremony and receive plaques and $2,500 each.
(Warren is a public affairs specialist with Standard Systems Group Public Affairs at Maxwell-Gunther Air Force Base, Miss.)