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Navy Medicine Professional Development Center (NMPDC) onboard Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) recently selected its 2013 Civilians of the Year.

Cheryl L. Dennis, manager of the NMPDC Graduate Medical Education (GME) Application and Placement program, and Anitsa Garcia, NMPDC timekeeper/civilian payroll officer, earned the command’s Senior and Junior Civilian of the Year Award respectively.

“I sincerely enjoy what I do,” said Dennis, adding she believes in and attempts to practice, “a strong work ethic, good customer relations and teamwork.”

Garcia, expressed similar sentiments about herself, explaining she feels “driven and committed to work hard and achieve [the] mission.”

The leadership of NMPDC agrees the civilian work force is critical to mission accomplishment, and Dennis and Garcia epitomize the dedication, professionalism and continuity found among those staff members not in uniform.

“Total force includes our civilians,” explained Navy Capt. Carey Sill, NMPDC commanding officer. “Military personnel come and go every three years or so; civilians bring outstanding professionalism and continuity to our nation’s defense strategies.”

“Competition for civilians of the year is always keen,” added NMPDC Command Master Chief Clint A. Garrett. “It is always difficult to pick a winner from amongst winners. Both Ms. Garcia and Ms. Dennis are, and set, outstanding examples in their respective areas of responsibility and are integral to our command’s mission success.”

Dennis explained she plans and manages the GME application process for Medical Corps (MC) officers for NMPDC. “This includes creating the annual notices, processing more than 900 applications for the annual Joint Service GME selection board, serving as the assistant recorder for the selection board, notifying and tracking the placement of selected applicants, identifying alternates who have been selected, and computing obligated service for all MC officers,” she said.

“I enjoy working with my applicants from the beginning to the end of the application cycle,” said the Columbus, Ohio, native who has worked at NMPDC since 2007. “I feel very proud and honored to have been nominated by my supervisors and selected amongst my fellow dedicated peers,” Dennis added about earning NMPDC’s Senior Civilian of the Year Award.

The mother of five children ages 13 to 21, Dennis said when not working she enjoys spending time with them and her husband, as well as with friends.

Offering her advice for career success, Dennis said, “strive to be a subject matter expert in every facet of your job.” Her supervisors explain this is what she does on the job.

“She is an exceptional leader and program manager whose efforts will have a lasting impact on GME,” said Cmdr. John Kendrick, director of Officer Programs at NMPDC.

Navy Capt. Elizabeth A. McGuigan, director of Navy GME and Continuing Medical Education, added, “Ms. Dennis has set the bar incredibly high and we are all very proud of her professionalism, level of expertise and meticulous attention to detail which contribute so much to the entire team.”

Garcia’s supervisor has similar praise for her. “Ms. Garcia’s positive attitude, attention to customer needs and willingness to go the extra mile has earned her this prestigious recognition. These characteristics have made her the go-to person with a can-do attitude that will bring her success in any future endeavors,” said Cmdr. Tyrone E. Gilmore, NMPDC’s director for resources.

Garcia has worked at NMPDC since 2008. “She has always been an exceptional record keeper and advocate for financial matters to ensure they are properly addressed, making her the perfect fit for the multiple roles she fills, especially as NMPDC and Navy Medicine approach audit readiness testing,” Gilmore added.

Garcia, who works in NMPDC Accounting Division, is responsible for providing NMPDC’s civilian timekeeping services, reconciling government purchase cardholder accounts, preparing daily accounting reports and coordinating with certifying and accountable officials in support of audit readiness. She said what she finds most enjoyable about her job is the interaction she has with her colleagues and directors.

“The fact that I am able to help, assist and support my command’s mission motivates me to make a difference and raise the bar to continue growing and learning,” Garcia said. “This is my second family,” she added.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Garcia said she’s humbled to have earned NMPDC Junior Civilian of the Year Award. “This command has opened a world of opportunities, growth and an exciting learning path for me. Being surrounded by so many amazing smart people inspires me to keep pushing myself and give my very best in everything I do.”

The mother of two, a 20-year-old and a 14-year-old, Garcia said she enjoys spending time with them when not working — going to the movies, bowling, reading and visiting family in Virginia Beach.

“Hard work does pay off and doesn’t go unnoticed,” Garcia added. “Work hard, always push yourself to excel, be loyal, committed and dedicated to your job,” is her advice for career success.