The 32nd Annual Department of Defense Disability Awards Ceremony was hosted today by Frederick E. Vollrath, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, in the Pentagon Auditorium. 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 with disabilities and wounded, ill, or injured service members.
"Diversity is essential and has been a key to the success of our armed forces and civilian workforce," said Vollrath. "When we embrace a range of talent and perspective, our ability to defend our Nation grows stronger."
Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy Kareem A. Dale was the keynote speaker and expanded upon this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month's theme, "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"
DoD's Director of Disability Programs Stephen King also spoke at the ceremony. "The bottom line is America must employ the talents, skills, and capabilities of incredibly bright and productive citizens -- both in and out of uniform -- who want to serve our country," said King. "People with disabilities often face unique challenges; we need that type of problem-solving ability and skill in the workplace."
The following 17 DoD employees with disabilities and wounded, ill, or injured service members received Secretary of Defense awards for their outstanding contributions to national security:
David L. Miller, Department of the Army
Staff Sgt. Alexander Shaw, United States Army
Staff Sgt. Donald G. Sistrunk, United States Army
Bruce Baraw, Department of the Navy
Sgt. Julian P. Torres, United States Marine Corps
Capt. Ryan McGuire, United States Air Force
LaVonne Rosenthal, National Guard Bureau
Grayson J. Colegrove, Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Billy W. Bowens, Defense Commissary Agency
Thomas G. Pisoni, Defense Contract Audit Agency
Samson Isaacs, Defense Contract Management Agency
Edward L. Bright, Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Sarah E. Gunn, Defense Intelligence Agency
John A. Clark Jr., Defense Logistics Agency
Carl Doeler, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Julia G. Orth, National Security Agency
The following four DoD components received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding achievements in the employment of individuals with disabilities:
Department of the Air Force
Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Technical Information Center
National Security Agency
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