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Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington recognized long-serving employees at its Public Works Department at Naval Support Activity South Potomac at an award ceremony March 7. Capt. Craig Prather, executive officer of NAVFACWASH, presented 17 length of service awards to PWD employees and praised them for the outstanding service they provide the Navy and nation.

“What’s fascinating is not just the amount of time that folks have dedicated their lives, service, intelligence, to the federal service, but when you look around the room, what you’re looking at is the diversity of our team,” said Prather. “I don’t just mean what people look like, but what they do.

“We’ve got some people receiving awards who are from Chicago, some are from South Carolina, some from Tennessee,” Prather continued. “We’ve got folks who have served in the Army, served in the Navy, served in the Air Force, the National Guard, Marine Corps. We have some folks who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. We have folks who in their prior lives worked for [medical] clinics, who were correctional officers in the D.C. prison. We have folks who served in Indian Head, Dahlgren. folks with multiple trades and talents, series and grades. We’ve got folks who like traveling, hiking, fishing, racing in cars and working on tractors. We’ve got church-going folks, grandparents, folks with no kids and folks who just like to hang out by themselves.”

Prather said that deepness of diversity has a direct impact on the success of the NAVFACWASH mission. “The reality is that we don’t just celebrate what we do, but we celebrate who we are,” he said. “I know we’re recognizing folks for length of service, but the reality is, we’re one great team. But the team is made up of individuals. So I’m honored be in your midst and honored to present these awards.”

Prather highlighted the senior PWD employee receiving an award, Frank Montgomery, with 45 years of service, to illustrate the value of lengthy work experience. “Frank is an example,” he said. “Think about it-1969 through 2014. Think of the dash in the middle. There is so much in that dash that is not only part of who he is, but what he has shared with all of us-the dedication, the commitment, the sacrifice, the energy, the effort, the intelligence, the high and the lows, the experiences, but more importantly the relationships in that dash.”

Prather then recognized the long list of awardees.

Mary Frey, Dana Hepner, Shane Hudelson, David Martin were recognized for 25 years of service.

Allen Banko, Diane Bledsoe, Bernice Brown, Michael Chilton, Kevin Cockrell, Tracy Hall, James Powell and Donald Prunty were recognized for 30 years of service.

Gregory Finley, Douglas Goodspeed, Gary Kendrick, and Leamond Meekins were recognized for 35 years of service.

Roland Crowley and Lonnie Thurston were recognized for 40 years of service.

Last but not least, Montgomery was recognized for an incredible 45 years of service.

As the awardees were recognized, they shared a little bit about themselves and their careers. For some, the stories were of career transitions and reductions in force. Others described their military service, families, friends and hobbies. Of course, this portion of the ceremony also allowed for jokes and a little good-natured ribbing.

As the laughter subsided, Prather challenged the awardees to look out for one another and keep up the outstanding service for which the NSASP PWD is known.

“I’m proud of you and honored,” said Prather. “We want to recognize you and thank you for your service.”