Photo by Spc. Cody W. Torkelson
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, congratulates Cheryl Jensen, Vail Veterans Program founder and executive director, after awarding her the Outstanding Civilian Service Award during the “Salute from the Chief” Twilight Tattoo performance in Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall, April 28.
Four civilians were awarded Outstanding Civilian Service Awards during a special Twilight Tattoo called ‘Salute from the Chief,’ hosted by Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in Conmy Hall at the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, April 28.
Odierno recognized Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Give an Hour Program founder; Mike Duke, former Wal-Mart CEO; Roger Goodell, National Football Foundation commissioner and Cheryl Jensen, Vail Veterans Program founder and executive director, for their exceptional service in support of the United States Army.
"I am thankful for what our military and our wounded warriors have done for our country," said Jensen. "It isn’t just about taking care of our military when they initially return, but also 10 years from now. We can’t forget the sacrifices they’ve given."
"These four honorable men and women have all taught us lessons about service," said Odierno. "Their steadfast commitment to our Soldiers has been unwavering."
Outstanding Civilian Service Awards are the third-highest public service honor the U.S. Army can bestow upon a civilian. Every year, Odierno honors a select few that have shown an outstanding contribution to Soldiers and their families.
"A woman came up to me at dinner last night and she was a spouse of a former wounded warrior that went through the Vail Veterans Program and she said, ‘I just want to thank you—you saved my marriage,’" said Jensen. "It’s those moments that make me realize what I’m doing is worth it."
"They [awardees] reach out for the simple yet profound reason that they love their country and have a deep respect for those who serve and for their families who stand by them," said Odierno. "We are indebted to each and every one of you, and tonight, we are proud to salute you."
Following the award ceremony, a special Twilight Tattoo was performed featuring Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own."
Audience members experienced a glimpse into American history through performances by the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and the U.S. Army Drill Team.
The Twilight Tattoo is hosted every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. These events are free and open to the public.