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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1000-11
December 06, 2011

Department of Defense Holds Annual Disability Awards Ceremony

            The 31st Annual Department of Defense Disability Awards Ceremony was hosted today by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy John R. Campbell, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Md.  This annual event provides an overview of DoD disability policy and initiatives, recognizes DoD organizations for their efforts in the employment of individuals with disabilities, and highlights the accomplishments of DoD employees and service members with disabilities.

            “It is imperative that we as a department continue to recognize the achievements and contributions of these outstanding individuals,” said Campbell.  “The determination and perspectives they bring serve as immense inspiration while further enhancing the capabilities and diversification of the DoD.”

            Kathleen Martinez, blind since birth and head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, was the keynote speaker.  She discussed diversity and inclusion, which both served as overarching themes within her delivered message.

             “Hiring people with disabilities isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.  And this awards event shows me that DoD understands this well,” said Martinez.  “I truly believe that diversity leads to innovation.  By fostering a work culture respectful of individual differences, employers benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and achieve success.”

            The following 19 DoD employees and service members with disabilities received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding contributions to national security:

            Bobbie Mezei, Department of the Army

            Trent Moore, Department of the Army

            Nathanael Wales, Department of the Army

            Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan M. Grundy, Department of the Army

            William G. Conley, Department of the Navy

            Sgt. Matthew R. Koetting, United States Marine Corps

            Robert Rudney, Department of the Air Force

            Senior Airman Michael James Malarsie, Department of the Air Force

            Tech. Sgt. Frank Reilly, Department of the Air Force

            Thomas J. Dembowski, National Guard Bureau

            Maj. Leland D. Blanchard, National Guard Bureau

            Jamie L. Critchfield, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General

            Garth Erik Porter, Army and Air Force Exchange Service

            Catherine A. Richardson, Defense Contract Management Agency

            Terry Lysaght, Defense Finance and Accounting Service

            Pamela A. Circo Webb, Defense Logistics Agency

            Sean L. Cumming, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency

            Andrew McKay, National Security Agency

            Mark B. Rew, TRICARE® Management Activity

            The following four DoD components received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding achievements in the employment of individuals with disabilities:

            Department of the Navy, Best Military Department Award

            Defense Commissary Agency, Best Mid-Sized Component Award

            Joint Staff, Best Small-Sized Component Award

            Defense Intelligence Agency, Best Intelligence Component Award